Did you know that 1 in 5 Americans is affected by mental health conditions? When you look at depression alone, as many as 16.2 million Americans are battling this condition every day. Mental illness affects everyone in some form or another. Through friends, family, or coworkers, we are all somehow affected by conditions like depression. Unfortunately, the stigma and misunderstanding that accompanies depression is very prominent.
October 7-13 is Mental Illness Awareness Week, and this year’s theme is “CureStigma.” The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) together with participants across the country work to raise awareness of mental illness during the full first week in October. The goal is to provide support, help to educate the public, and to fight stigma.
What is stigma when it comes to mental health? Stigma is a negative stereotype. Stigma creates shame, fear and silence which ultimately prevents many people from seeking the help and treatment that they need. 9 out of 10 people report that the stigma associated with having a condition like depression has had a negative impact on their lives. The good news is that stigma is 100% curable.
How can you fight the mental health stigma?
Educate yourself and others. Learn about the issues that you may not understand. Talk to others about what it’s like to have depression or other mental health conditions. Education can help increase your understanding. If you over-hear a rude remark being made about mental illness, try to use that as a learning opportunity kindly express how it makes you or others feel.
Be open and encourage others to do so. This quote sums it up perfectly. “We need so much more openness, transparency, and understanding that it’s OK to talk about depression as an illness. It’s not a weakness. It’s not a moral shortcoming. It’s not something people brought on themselves,” John F. Greden, M.D.
There are many ways to get involved in raising awareness and fighting the stigma associated with mental health. Participating in research studies may also be an option. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with depression, Olympian Clinical Research is seeking patients to take part in clinical studies for depression. Qualified participants receive care from board-certified physicians and receive compensation for time and travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a study, click HERE.