The Stigma Around Mental Health Must End
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Health and Wellness

The Stigma Around Mental Health Must End

And it has to end now.

The Stigma Around Mental Health Must End
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"Did you hear? She's going to therapy."

"Keep talking like that and you'll end up in counseling."

"Oh, they need therapy, alright."

Comments like these are often all too common in everyday conversation. It can be easy to treat those who choose to seek therapy as lesser-than, and talking in this way might make the speaker feel better about his or her own mental health and state of being. However, by engaging in this kind of speech, we are not only making it harder for those who attend therapy or counseling services to continue going, but are making it even more difficult for ourselves to consider the possibility that therapy isn't reserved for one certain group of people, but is something that everyone should consider attending.

What happens during therapy or counseling, anyway? It's not at all as intensive as some might make it out to be. Rather, it's a lot like telling a trusted friend or family member about what happened during your week.

Instead of giving responses that might not be very helpful, or just telling you what you might want to hear (like the way a close friend might), a therapist or counselor will give practical advice or suggestions for solutions to anything you might be having a problem with. And, let's face it, we all have some kind of problem or issue that we could possibly use some assistance with.

A therapist or counselor is also completely confidential; unless a client discloses information about wanting to harm his or herself or others, or information related to knowledge of child abuse, anything that is said between the therapist and client is completely confidential. It's a judgement-free zone where you can tell a licensed professional about the kinds of problems you may be facing or have faced in the past; the kind of space that everyone would benefit from, whether they want to admit it or not.

Many people today think mental health issues are something only certain groups of people may suffer from. However, a 2018 statistic from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, found that 19.1% of U.S. adults experienced some kind of mental illness. That's 47.6 million people, or 1 in 5 Americans. However, only 43.3% of those adults with mental illnesses received treatment that year. That's higher than in previous years, but is still less than half. NAMI also found that the average delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years. Part of this huge gap between exhibiting symptoms and receiving treatment has to do with the way mental health is treated in our society, and the often negative connotations we associate with it.

By treating therapy as a punishment or last-ditch solution, we have made it a space in our minds as something only certain people might need. But it shouldn't be that way. If we exhibit symptoms of being physically ill, like headaches, stomachaches, etc., we are encouraged to go to the doctor. We may even go to the doctor for a regular check-up. Why, then, isn't going to a counseling service seen as more of a mental check-up, rather than a punitive measure? By talking about mental health in a negative manner, we make it harder for those who want to go to therapy to go.

It's time for the stigma around mental health to end. If we want anything to change in our society, it has to start with being more accepting of those seeking solutions to mental illness by going to therapy or counseling. If more people were willing to try attending a counseling or therapy session, the world we live in could be completely changed.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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