Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mental Health Stigmas - Barrier to Seeking Help?

The stigma attached to mental health ailments is obvious in my opinion.  I call them Mental Health Ailments because it is no different then a broken arm.   I read recently that the medical profession equates Depression to the Common Cold. Intereseting....

I think it is important to mention the labels and stigmatization that is attached to coming forward with a mental issue.  Be it depression, feelings of suicide, ADD, ADHD, or any other illness that messes with our brains emotional regulation. 

Is the stigma society places on mental illness a barrier to seeking help? This is a question that I have pondered.

I have mentioned this slippery slope to falling off of the mental deep end. It didn't happen spontaneously, so why did I not seek help earlier. Answer....I didn't want to be labeled as a nut bar!  I didn't want to tarnish my professional reputation.  I told myself, I can handle it, I'm a man, men handle shit. They don't ask for help. Those were a sample of my rationalizations to not seeking help earlier on.

The most powerful barrier for me was the admission that I had a mental problem and the perceived judgement or stigma that I thought society would cast upon me.

This is a problem.  I know they  have mental awareness months. It just never appealed to me, until lately, for obvious reasons.

I have worked in the medical community for most of my adult life. I hear the judgments, thoughts and perceptions people have towards the mentally ill. It is revolting.  Your brain is an organ, and one of the most complex ones in the human body, so it makes sense that something can go haywire.

In terms of diabetes, I have said this before, it is often last on the agenda in the management of diabetes. It should be first, because where the brain goes, the body will follow.

So what do you think?  Does a stigma exist in society and if so does it impede the prompt pursuit of help from those in need?


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