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May is Mental Health Awareness Month – But What About Stigma?

It is an honor to many and a historic milestone to all to have a month named for Mental Health. We would not have such a month a decade ago for two reasons:

  1. The stigma attached to the term “mental health” all but prevented its discussion.
  2. Since people were afraid to speak about someone they knew, or even themselves, having a mental illness or condition, they were silent and kept it to themselves. Thus, mental health was considered unimportant or at least, not important enough to be written about let alone have a month named in its honor.

We have come a long way since these times, but have a ways to go. There are many doctors (PsyD, PhD and M.D.) in my circle professionally and personally. Over the course of the past 11 years, I have been speaking to friends and colleagues in the medical field about mental health. Every person I speak to believes mental health is a problem and a very important part of medicine. I even ask my personal doctors this question:  Do you believe the healthiest person needs to be healthy in both body and mind?  I have yet to meet ONE that says no. They ALL believe, and studies show, that we need to be healthy physically and mentally to be truly healthy. So what is the problem? I believe lot of the problem is still the stigma people attach to mental health issues. From depression to addictions, to eating disorders, grieving etc. the strength it takes to ask for help and overcome these common problems still does not stand above stigma.

Mental Health problems cause anger issues and impulse control disorders and are responsible for work disability and serious role impairments including parenting, household maintenance, social lives, intimate relationships and even suicidality.

So what can you do about it? If you are the patient, don’t be embarrassed to get the help you need. If you are a professional in the mental health or any medical field, help eradicate stigma. If you are a caring member of our community, and want to help, please donate your time, money or talent.

Lynn Goldberg, LMFT
Director of Development
Living Success Center

Living Success Center provides mental health services within a low/no fee cost structure to enable underserved members of our community to obtain, without concern for cost, critically needed mental health care. Call (949) 645-4723 for more information or to make an appointment.

Posted May 10th, 2017 | News