Stand Up for Mental Health is asking people who have already disclosed their mental health condition, or who are now ready to do so, to “stand up” in hopes that others will follow.
Hiding because of stigma (while very understandable) does absolutely no good for recovery or treatment. Stigma keeps people from reaching out when they need it most. Loved ones of those with mental illness may be ashamed or scared to reach out as well. And people are getting hurt.
If something doesn’t change, mental health stigma will affect us all for generations to come. And I personally want to do my part to help remove stigma.
I believe its important to share my own struggles with mental illness publicly here on my blog. To let others know they’re not alone. To be very clear that having a mental illness does not make me weak, or a bad or troubled person. It just means I have an illness that needs treatment and vigilance.
For my part of the Healthy Place campaign, I did something that scared the crap out of me to do, BUT because mental health awareness is so important to me, I’ve done it. I recorded a video blog for the Stand Up for Mental Health campaign about why I choose to publicly disclose my mental illness.
In it, I share the impetus for “coming out” in 2010 after the suicide of a dear lifelong friend. It was emotional and nerve-wracking for me to record for many reasons (especially since I’m not a vlogger or public speaker normally) but I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch and to share with others.
You can also find my video and other stigma videos on Healthy Place focusing on two themes: 1. Was there a time when mental health stigma prevented you from disclosing that you had a mental illness? 2. Why did you publicly disclose your mental health condition and what was the impact of that? These videos can be found here: http://www.healthyplace.com/stigma/stand-up-for-mental-health/mental-health-stigma-videos/
I hope you’ll consider joining the Stand Up for Mental Health campaign.
If you have a blog or web site, you can join Stand Up for Mental Health by adding a button to your site. You’ll see mine in the left hand side bar. You can find the images/code for the buttons HERE. And if you don’t have a web site but still want to support the campaign via social media, you can also download Facebook, Google+ and other social media banner images HERE.
Have you disclosed your mental illness? Will you?