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Peer Talk

How do I deal with the stigma around mental illnesses and suicide and self harm as someone who struggles with them?

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Dealing with mental illness, suicide and self harm is very challenging on it’s own. On top of this, it’s even more stressful to need to deal with the stigma that comes with this too. This stigma can include being labeled as “crazy” or “unstable,” being told that you self harm for attention, or being told that you should feel ashamed of the mental illnesses you’re dealing with. Even worse, there’s even negative stigmas around seeking help for the mental health issues you’re dealing with. For example, talking about mental illness or taking medication for a mental illness is often shunned. The stigma around mental health is often based on preconceived societal ideas, and is not accurate to the facts on mental health.

What’s even worse is that stigma can prevent someone from reaching out for help. Sometimes, the stigma can be internalized causing you to tell yourself the same things other people tell you.

An important part of dealing with stigma is understanding that the stigma around mental health is wrong, and why it is wrong. When you have a mental illness your mind is sick, similar to how your body can get sick too.  Just like how you should see a doctor and get the proper treatment when your body gets sick, you should also see a doctor or psychiatrist to get the treatment you need. You should never need to feel ashamed of the mental illness, suicidal thoughts or self harm you’re dealing with, this is a common challenge that many young adults deal with. Around 10-20% of Canadian youth are dealing with a mental illness, and having that conversation about what you’re dealing with opens you up to treatments and support from those around you.

Because we all cope with stigma differently, it’s hard for us to tell you how exactly to deal with the stigma around mental health. Because of this, it’s important to examine how you deal with stress yourself and who you can talk to about what you’re dealing with. Oftentimes, having those people who will support you in your struggle with mental illness can help you overcome the stigma.

Connecteen is always here to talk about the stigma you’re dealing with. Feel free to chat with us online, text us at 587.333.2774  or call us at 403.264.TEEN (8336).

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