How to Destigmatize Mental Health?

%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-1617087%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3EHow%20to%20Destigmatize%20Mental%20Health%3F%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-1617087%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EThese%20days%20the%20media%20seems%20to%20be%20becoming%20more%20open%20and%20receptive%20to%20talking%20about%20mental%20health.%20In%20fact%2C%20Netflix%20even%20released%20a%20popular%20new%20K-drama%20called%20%22It's%20OK%20to%20be%20Not%20OK%22%2C%20weaving%20different%20mental%20health%2Fneurodiversity%20issues%20into%20the%20storyline.%20Any%20tips%20of%20destigmatizing%20mental%20health%20within%20our%20own%20communities%20that%20may%20not%20be%20as%20open%2Freceptive%3F%20Sometimes%20I'm%20even%20afraid%20to%20tell%20my%20own%20family%20about%20the%20emotions%20I%20deal%20with%20as%20they%20assume%20it%20will%20automatically%20%22go%20away%22%20with%20time.%20Suggestions%20welcome!%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-1617124%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20How%20to%20Destigmatize%20Mental%20Health%3F%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-1617124%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3E%3CA%20href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Ftechcommunity.microsoft.com%2Ft5%2Fuser%2Fviewprofilepage%2Fuser-id%2F773693%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%3E%40SheBoss%3C%2FA%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EI%20feel%20that%20a%20lot%20of%20progress%20has%20been%20made%20overcoming%20stigma%2C%26nbsp%3B%20but%20there%20is%20a%20way%20to%20go%20as%20well%20still.%26nbsp%3B%20It%20can%20be%20hardest%20talking%20with%20family%20at%20times%2C%20that's%20why%20finding%20a%20good%20counsellor%20is%20priceless.%26nbsp%3B%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EConnecting%20with%20great%20like%20minded%20people%20in%20communities%20like%20this%20is%20also%20absolutely%20therapeutic.%26nbsp%3B%20Talking%20is%20so%20good%20for%20you!%26nbsp%3B%26nbsp%3B%3CIMG%20class%3D%22lia-deferred-image%20lia-image-emoji%22%20src%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Ftechcommunity.microsoft.com%2Fhtml%2Fimages%2Femoticons%2Fsmile_40x40.gif%22%20alt%3D%22%3Asmile%3A%22%20title%3D%22%3Asmile%3A%22%20%2F%3E%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-1617428%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20How%20to%20Destigmatize%20Mental%20Health%3F%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-1617428%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EAnother%20fantastic%20question%26nbsp%3B%3CA%20href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Ftechcommunity.microsoft.com%2Ft5%2Fuser%2Fviewprofilepage%2Fuser-id%2F773693%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%3E%40SheBoss%3C%2FA%3E%26nbsp%3B!%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EI%20have%20attempted%20two%20different%20approaches%20(both%20VolunTOLD%20opportunities%2C%20mind%20you)%20to%20raise%20awareness%20and%20bust%20through%20this%20stigma%20to%20date%2C%20with%20more%20scheming%20to%20come...%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3ELast%20year%2C%20I%20had%20the%20privilege%20to%20take%20the%20stage%20at%20MSIgnite%20and%20share%20my%20story%20as%20part%20of%20the%20Neurodiversity%20as%20a%20Superpower%20pre-day%20session.%20I%20had%20rehearsed%20what%20I%20wanted%20to%20say%20in%20my%20mind%20just%20days%20before%2C%20but%20got%20my%20last%20bit%20of%20inspiration%20just%20hours%20before%20taking%20the%20stage%20from%20other%20Humans%20of%20IT%20as%20part%20of%20the%20panel.%20I%20was%20nervous%20as%20hell%20taking%20the%20stage%2C%20but%20I%20was%20%22strongly%20reminded%22%20that%20if%20I%20share%20an%20honest%2C%20authentic%20me%20on%20the%20stage%20and%20be%20humble%20-%20hopefully%20my%20story%2C%20and%20the%20stories%20from%20others%20on%20the%20panel%20would%20be%20helpful%20to%20folks.%20The%20feedback%20was%20overwhelming%2C%20and%20if%20finally%20triggered%20with%20me%20that%20just%20having%20conversations%20and%20sharing%20experiences%20continues%20to%20chip%20away%20at%20the%20stigma.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EEarlier%20this%20year%2C%20I%20took%20a%20%2340Days%20challenge%20and%20turned%20it%20into%2040%20days%20of%20micro%20stories%20surrounding%20neurodiversity%2C%20anxiety%2C%20ADHD%2C%20OCD%2C%20and%20life%20in%20general.%20Again%2C%20having%20the%20conversation%20within%20supportive%20communities%20(like%26nbsp%3B%3CA%20href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Ftechcommunity.microsoft.com%2Ft5%2Fuser%2Fviewprofilepage%2Fuser-id%2F616707%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%3E%40PeterRising%3C%2FA%3E%26nbsp%3Bshared)%20makes%20ALL%20the%20difference%2C%20and%20is%20contagious%20as%20well!%20I%20felt%20as%20though%20a%20door%20had%20been%20opened%2C%20and%20the%20weight%20of%20most%20of%20it%20left%20my%20shoulders.%20Hoping%20that%20simply%20talking%20about%20it%20helps%20you%20as%20well!%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-1617535%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20How%20to%20Destigmatize%20Mental%20Health%3F%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-1617535%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3EI%20hate%20to%20be%20that%20person%2C%20but%20I%20find%20that%20there%20is%20certainly%20a%20generational%20issue%20with%20this.%20The%20older%20generations%20were%20told%20to%20%22suck%20it%20up%22%20and%20%22just%20get%20on%20with%20it%22%20and%20they%20tend%20to%20try%20and%20pass%20that%20on%20to%20their%20kids%20as%20well.%20I%20know%20that%20I%20had%20my%20own%20family%20say%20that%20I%20jsut%20needed%20to%20%22stop%20worrying%20so%20much%22%2C%20%22stop%20overthinking%22%20and%20that%20my%20anxiety%20was%20%22all%20in%20my%20head%22.%20Of%20*COURSE*%20it's%20all%20in%20my%20head%2C%20it's%20a%20mental%20health%20condition.%3CBR%20%2F%3E%3CBR%20%2F%3EThe%20mroe%20we%20talk%20about%20it%20-%20the%20more%20we%20remove%20the%20shame%20and%20guilt%20of%20reaching%20out%20for%20help%2C%20of%20using%20medication%20to%20help%20us%20be%20better%20and%20feel%20better%2C%20of%20normalising%20therapy%20and%20speaking%20to%20psychologists%20and%20psychiatrists%20-%20the%20better%20it's%20going%20to%20get.%20And%20I'm%20hoping%20that%20future%20generations%20won't%20have%20the%20same%20%22just%20get%20on%20with%20it%22%20that%20I%20had%20growing%20up.%3CBR%20%2F%3E%3CBR%20%2F%3EIt%20took%20my%20years%20to%20actually%20realise%20that%20I%20needed%20help%20and%20it%20wasn't%20until%20I%20had%20a%20fairly%20large%20breakdown%20that%20I%20went%20to%20my%20GP%20and%20got%20a%20mental%20health%20care%20plan.%20And%20I'm%20so%20grateful%20that%20I%20had%20the%20support%20of%20my%20partner%20and%20of%20friends%20to%20go%20and%20do%20all%20of%20that.%20The%20same%20goes%20for%20when%20I%20finally%20ended%20up%20on%20medication%20-%20I%20didn't%20start%20that%20until%20I%20was%20diagnosed%20to%20post-natal%20depression.%20And%20when%20I%20did%20speak%20to%20family%20members%20about%20it%2C%20I%20was%20told%20that%20the%20feelings%20I%20was%20having%20were%20totally%20normal.%20But%20when%20I%20spoke%20to%20my%20GP%3F%20They%20were%20*not*%20normal.%3CBR%20%2F%3E%3CBR%20%2F%3EYou%20have%20to%20find%20what's%20right%20for%20you%20and%20what's%20right%20for%20your%20situation.%20There%20will%20be%20some%20people%20you%20don't%20feel%20comfortable%20talking%20about%20this%20stuff%20with%2C%20and%20that's%20fine.%20We%20can't%20change%20the%20world%20by%20ourselves!%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-1617823%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20How%20to%20Destigmatize%20Mental%20Health%3F%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-1617823%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3E%3CA%20href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Ftechcommunity.microsoft.com%2Ft5%2Fuser%2Fviewprofilepage%2Fuser-id%2F365079%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%3E%40girlgerms%3C%2FA%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EI%20completely%20agree%20with%20this.%26nbsp%3B%20There%20is%20definitely%20a%20generational%20aspect%20to%20this.%26nbsp%3B%20It%20was%20drilled%20into%20me%20by%20my%20own%20Mother%20(who%20is%20no%20longer%20with%20us)%2C%20that%20depression%20was%20either%20not%20real%2C%20or%20something%20that%20only%20happened%20to%20weak%20people%2C%20and%20that%20you%20simply%20had%20to%20put%20on%20a%20brave%20face%20and%20get%20on%20with%20it.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EBoy%20did%20I%20take%20this%20to%20heart.%26nbsp%3B%20I%20kept%20everything%20internal%20until%20I%20broke%20down%20in%202012.%26nbsp%3B%20Things%20came%20to%20a%20head%20in%20one%20incredible%20week%20where%20on%20the%20Monday%2C%20my%20then%202%20year%20old%20son%20was%20diagnosed%20with%20severe%20autism%2C%20and%20on%20the%20Friday%20of%20that%20week%20my%20Mother%20passed%20away.%26nbsp%3B%20Add%20in%20preparing%20for%20a%20house%20move%2C%20a%20stressful%20job%2C%20and%20snap!!%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EYears%20later%2C%20I've%20learned%20so%20much%20about%20mental%20health%2C%20depression%2C%20and%20anxiety.%26nbsp%3B%20Add%20in%20a%20bit%20of%20imposter%20syndrome%20and%20you've%20got%20quite%20the%20cocktail.%26nbsp%3B%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EThe%20biggest%20lesson%20I've%20learned%20along%20the%20way%20is%20that%20it%20never%20goes%20away.%26nbsp%3B%20You%20can't%20get%20rid%20of%20your%20anxiety%20completely.%26nbsp%3B%20What%20you%20need%20to%20do%20is%20become%20aware%20of%20it%2C%20and%20that%20will%20help%20you%20to%20manage%20it.%26nbsp%3B%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EI'm%20now%20an%20open%20book%20on%20my%20experiences%20and%20feelings%2C%20and%20I%20find%20that%20talking%20openly%20about%20it%20helps%20not%20only%20me%20but%20others%20too.%26nbsp%3B%20Still%20very%20much%20a%20work%20in%20progress%20at%20the%20age%20of%2048.%26nbsp%3B%20I%20think%20we%20all%20are%20aren't%20we.%26nbsp%3B%26nbsp%3B%3CIMG%20class%3D%22lia-deferred-image%20lia-image-emoji%22%20src%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Ftechcommunity.microsoft.com%2Fhtml%2Fimages%2Femoticons%2Fsmile_40x40.gif%22%20alt%3D%22%3Asmile%3A%22%20title%3D%22%3Asmile%3A%22%20%2F%3E%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E
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New Contributor

These days the media seems to be becoming more open and receptive to talking about mental health. In fact, Netflix even released a popular new K-drama called "It's OK to be Not OK", weaving different mental health/neurodiversity issues into the storyline. Any tips of destigmatizing mental health within our own communities that may not be as open/receptive? Sometimes I'm even afraid to tell my own family about the emotions I deal with as they assume it will automatically "go away" with time. Suggestions welcome! 

4 Replies
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@SheBoss 

 

I feel that a lot of progress has been made overcoming stigma,  but there is a way to go as well still.  It can be hardest talking with family at times, that's why finding a good counsellor is priceless.  

 

Connecting with great like minded people in communities like this is also absolutely therapeutic.  Talking is so good for you!  :smile:

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Another fantastic question @SheBoss !

 

I have attempted two different approaches (both VolunTOLD opportunities, mind you) to raise awareness and bust through this stigma to date, with more scheming to come...

 

Last year, I had the privilege to take the stage at MSIgnite and share my story as part of the Neurodiversity as a Superpower pre-day session. I had rehearsed what I wanted to say in my mind just days before, but got my last bit of inspiration just hours before taking the stage from other Humans of IT as part of the panel. I was nervous as hell taking the stage, but I was "strongly reminded" that if I share an honest, authentic me on the stage and be humble - hopefully my story, and the stories from others on the panel would be helpful to folks. The feedback was overwhelming, and if finally triggered with me that just having conversations and sharing experiences continues to chip away at the stigma.

 

Earlier this year, I took a #40Days challenge and turned it into 40 days of micro stories surrounding neurodiversity, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, and life in general. Again, having the conversation within supportive communities (like @PeterRising shared) makes ALL the difference, and is contagious as well! I felt as though a door had been opened, and the weight of most of it left my shoulders. Hoping that simply talking about it helps you as well!

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I hate to be that person, but I find that there is certainly a generational issue with this. The older generations were told to "suck it up" and "just get on with it" and they tend to try and pass that on to their kids as well. I know that I had my own family say that I jsut needed to "stop worrying so much", "stop overthinking" and that my anxiety was "all in my head". Of *COURSE* it's all in my head, it's a mental health condition.

The mroe we talk about it - the more we remove the shame and guilt of reaching out for help, of using medication to help us be better and feel better, of normalising therapy and speaking to psychologists and psychiatrists - the better it's going to get. And I'm hoping that future generations won't have the same "just get on with it" that I had growing up.

It took my years to actually realise that I needed help and it wasn't until I had a fairly large breakdown that I went to my GP and got a mental health care plan. And I'm so grateful that I had the support of my partner and of friends to go and do all of that. The same goes for when I finally ended up on medication - I didn't start that until I was diagnosed to post-natal depression. And when I did speak to family members about it, I was told that the feelings I was having were totally normal. But when I spoke to my GP? They were *not* normal.

You have to find what's right for you and what's right for your situation. There will be some people you don't feel comfortable talking about this stuff with, and that's fine. We can't change the world by ourselves!
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@girlgerms 

 

I completely agree with this.  There is definitely a generational aspect to this.  It was drilled into me by my own Mother (who is no longer with us), that depression was either not real, or something that only happened to weak people, and that you simply had to put on a brave face and get on with it.

 

Boy did I take this to heart.  I kept everything internal until I broke down in 2012.  Things came to a head in one incredible week where on the Monday, my then 2 year old son was diagnosed with severe autism, and on the Friday of that week my Mother passed away.  Add in preparing for a house move, a stressful job, and snap!!

 

Years later, I've learned so much about mental health, depression, and anxiety.  Add in a bit of imposter syndrome and you've got quite the cocktail.  

 

The biggest lesson I've learned along the way is that it never goes away.  You can't get rid of your anxiety completely.  What you need to do is become aware of it, and that will help you to manage it.  

 

I'm now an open book on my experiences and feelings, and I find that talking openly about it helps not only me but others too.  Still very much a work in progress at the age of 48.  I think we all are aren't we.  :smile: