The “Race to End the Stigma” campaign was created to not only change the way people perceive those who are living with mental illness, but also how those who are affected perceive themselves. At the Carlos Vieira Foundation, we strive to support the mental health community through education, fundraising and facilitating resources.
Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning. Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder.
Stigma is defined as a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. In the context of mental health, people who are stigmatized against are often labeled as ‘different’ and devalued by society. Stigma around mental health can be:
Signs of autism are often present before the age of three. Possible signs that a child may have autism include, but are not limited to, the following:
The effects of stigma on a person with mental health problems and those close to them are far-reaching and permeate daily life. It diminishes self-esteem and confidence, disrupts family relationships, limits opportunities in education and employment, social life and access to services. It can also act as a barrier to seeking help, speaking out and recovery.
Public stigma, which involves stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination, can also lead to self-stigma among individuals. This is when individuals accept the negative attitudes of society as true and come to believe they are less worthy of respect than others due to their mental health challenges. Self-stigma can lead individuals to believe myths such as they will not recover.
Trying to tell the difference between what expected behaviors are and what might be the signs of a mental illness isn't always easy. Each illness has its own symptoms, but common signs of mental illness can include, but are not limited to, the following:
If you or someone you know appears to be experiencing any possible warning signs, don’t be afraid to reach out to mental health professionals for help. A mental health professional will use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, to assess symptoms and make a diagnosis. After diagnosis, a health care provider can help develop a treatment plan that could include medication, therapy or other lifestyle changes.
Mental illnesses are treatable. 70-90% of people who seek proper treatment for mental health disorders witness a significant reduction in symptoms. Most people diagnosed with a serious mental illness can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan. Some examples of treatment include medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, peer support groups, and more.
If you or someone you know needs help now, you should immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call 911.
Change Your Mind:
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
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