Reduce the stigma; May is Mental Health Month

May 12, 2021

In these especially traumatic and stressful times, it’s more important than ever to look out for our mental well-being. What exactly is mental health? Mental health is a person’s general sense of emotional, psychological and cognitive well-being. The World Health Organization defines mental health as: A state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to his or her community.

Reduce the stigma around mental health conditions

Stigma around depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, trauma and other mental health conditions can add shame to the weight people carry and keep us from getting the help we need. Use these tips to talk about mental wellness in a stigma-free way:

  • Take certain words out of your vocabulary. Crazy, nutty, head case, lunatic, psycho, schizoid and similar words reinforce stereotypes, label human beings and minimize the importance of understanding mental health conditions.
  • Instead of “afflicted with” or “suffers from” a mental illness, use the fact-based “lives with,” “is diagnosed with” or “has.”
  • Use a person-first approach. We are not our diagnoses. Example: Instead of “a schizophrenic person,” say “a person living with schizophrenia” or “someone diagnosed with schizophrenia.”

Resources for mental wellness and crisis

You and your loved ones are not alone.