We all know about the stigma associated with mental illness and depression. We have probably all experienced it or seen it happen. The scale of discrimination against those with mental illness is shameful. The impact of stigma and discrimination upon individuals, communities and society is devastating, so why should we care and what can we do to eradicate it?
By speaking and writing openly and honestly about my experience of depression, I want to help to educate more people about depression and its symptoms and impact on all concerned. I want to Stop The Ignorance (and) Generate Mental-illness Awareness. I want to de-mystify this illness and correct all those myths which can lead to discrimination.
Why should we care?
According to “Stigma Shout” produced by Time To Change, stigma and discrimination;
- Prevents people from seeking help
- Delays treatment
- Impairs recovery
- Isolates people
- Excludes people from day-to-day activities
- stops people getting jobs
So how can you help?
Without doubt this problem is huge and beyond the best intentions of one or two individuals. What we need is for as many people suffering with mental illness to talk about their experiences and provide first hand experience of stigma and discrimination to organisations such as Depression Alliance, Rethink, MIND, Mental Health Media and Time To Change. These organisations fight every day for a fairer deal, more respect and extra support for those with mental illness. Consider being a Time To Change Champion or Rethink Activist.
We need successful people living with depression to come forward and explain how they cope. All those people who are in recovery can stand up and give hope to everyone not quite there yet.
Let us educate and communicate with the general public, family and friends so that they better understand depression and learn to see us, not the illness.
No, it’s not easy, and not everyone reading this will be able to or want to put themselves forward to assist. That’s OK too.