There is a major stigma that exists against those with mental health needs. People with depression, anxiety, bipolar, post traumatic stress, and many other disorder diagnoses are constantly under scrutiny of society. People do not choose to have a mental illness. The more and more we study mental health diagnoses, the more we find biological causes of disorders. For instance, the brain scan picture, to the left, shows that the brain is functioning completely differently for someone with a diagnosis of depression. They do not have the same mental resources available as someone neurotypical. BUT this does NOT make someone with a depressed brain less human, worthless, or tainted. They simply experience, view, and tackle life differently.
Stigmatization is nothing but destructive. Many people are uneducated about mental illness, fear it, or are uncomfortable around others with a mental health diagnosis. This causes people struggling to maintain their mental health to fight an even more strenuous battle…. A battle that they are already ill-equipped to fight.
It is the stigma associated with mental health that floods over into the stigmatization of counseling and therapy.
Therapy works from a medical model. The medical model says there is health to be restored.
Counseling works from a wellness model. The wellness model says there are strengths that need to be grown and developed.
ALL people can benefit from either therapy OR counseling. EVERYONE fits into one of these categories. You either have mental health to restore… OR you have strengths that could be grown and developed. Both improve quality of life.
Why then are people afraid of receiving this help?
When will the perception of counseling and therapy change to be something we applaud others for pursuing?
If people pursue counseling or therapy…
- They are not weak
- They are not crazy
- They are not a pity case
- They are not making it up
- They are not lesser human
- They are not incapable of being successful
- They are taking good care of themselves
- They are choosing hard, but commendable work
- They are being responsible
- They are trying to be the best version of themselves
- They are strong
- They are going to have some set backs
- They are going to need love and support
Chances are… YOU have struggles with mental health or you know someone close to you that struggles with mental health. It is time for people to be speaking out and using their voice to encourage people to pursue the healthcare that they need. This is a way for us to show love to a hurting community. A way to show love to people we will never meet. A way to show love to ourselves, because we may find ourselves struggling with our mental health one day. Wouldn’t you like to feel the freedom to get the help you need without feeling lesser, scared, marginalized, or looked down on? Let’s celebrate counseling and therapy and those who are brave and responsible to utilize it!
What mental health struggles do you have?
What areas in your life could you grow and develop?