3 Ways I Fight Mental Illness Stigma


The stigma surrounding mental illness is cruel and unfair. The names associated with having a mental illness are poisonous and untrue. We are not crazy. We are not freaks. We don’t belong in a loony bin. We are strong individuals who fight our battles every day to survive and be happy. Not only do we fight the battle of mental illness, but we also fight the battle of stigma. There are three ways I fight stigma on a daily basis: on social media, at the magazine rack and at my local mental health center.

1. I share.

My story is important for me to tell and for others to hear. It turns my illness into something personal and not just a diagnosis out of a book. I can’t expect people to truly understand me or my mental illness if I don’t explain it to them in the most honest way. I share my story without fear of the reaction I will get and know if I am judged it is only because of ignorance.

2. I educate.

Social media is a great place to educate people about mental illness and work toward ending the stigma surrounding it. I share a variety of information: statistics, symptoms and my own story. I’m sure to use credible sources so the information I share can’t be doubted and stay open to questions people may have about my own mental illness. I also educate others by educating myself. There’s always another illness to learn about, more statistics from other countries and more stories to hear. The more I know, the better I can battle my own mental illness and the better I can fight stigma.

3. I encourage.

Sharing my story for the first time with someone I wasn’t close to was scary. But not only did I feel better afterward, the person I shared with had gained a new understanding. I encourage other sufferers to come forward and share their story not just for their own benefit, but for the benefit of the ignorant, the stigmatizers and the bullies. We can’t expect people to understand mental illness if we don’t explain it to them, and there is no better way to do that then to recount our own experiences. It’s up to us to give mental illness a face and a name so the cruel and false names and descriptions don’t stick.

Stigma is an enemy to people who suffer from mental illness and to those who don’t understand its afflictions. But through sharing our stories, education and encouraging others, we can build an army strong enough to fight and defeat the stigma that surrounds mental illness. We aren’t crazy. We aren’t unhinged. We are people with a story to tell — a story of amazing strength that others just need the opportunity to hear. The fight against stigma will be long, and it will be hard, but with an army that understands mental illness, we can shut down stigma and not have to hear its ugly words ever again.

The Mighty is asking the following: Describe a moment where you experienced intolerance or inaccessibility. What needs to happen to change this? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Mental Health

drawing of man speaking

When Loving Someone With a Mental Illness, Never Underestimate the Power of Words

In the midst of something as debilitating as mental illness can be, there are some things that never get old. I’ve found one of those things is an encouraging word from someone you love. Never, never, never underestimate the power of the spoken word to change someone’s outlook. Never. Just try to imagine it: You’re [...]
image shows a girl wearing a paper bag on her head with a drawn smile. Text reads: I have to wear a mask every day.

23 Spot On Descriptions of What It's Like to Live With a Mental Illness

Mental Health Month in May is over. Mental health awareness is not. To keep the awareness going, Mental Health America created the hashtag #mentalillnessfeelslike to collect descriptions of what it’s like to live with a mental illness. All month, people have been using the hashtag to share their experiencing with a mental illness — so we asked The Mighty’s mental [...]
stethoscope on dollar

Americans Spend Over $200 Billion Treating Mental Health Conditions

Between prescription medication, therapy sessions and hospital visits, the costs of having a mental health condition can add up quickly. Now, a new report published in Health Affairs shows that not only are mental health conditions expensive, they are the most expensive – costing Americans over $201 billion a year. The report looked at several different [...]
Portrait of elegant woman lookinf at camera. Vector hand drawing by water color splashes

On Being 'Broken'

Think about it. An artist would never use an entire tree to sketch his lover — only a chip of its limb burnt into charcoal. A mosaic would not be near as expressive if it was only a slab of impeccable, whole porcelain. And if a song was just one long note, never interrupted for [...]