What Is Stigma?
According to Otto Wahl PhD - "Stigma is a mark or a label imposed by others that leads to devaluation and discrimination."
Which in my eyes leads to those dealing with mental illness believing they are crazy, weak, dangerous, unloved, different and broken.
What happens next?
Those struggling with Depression, Anxiety, an Eating Disorder and any other Mental Disorder begin to feel alone, abandoned, ignored, rejected, invisible, unwanted and feeling like they don't matter.
What can this lead to?
Someone not getting the proper help they deserve.
Also people with major depression are more likely to become victims of assault and rape. Stigma has a part to do with this.
It can lead to suicide.
What can YOU do?
Be more understanding and compassionate.
Reach out to them via text, email, in person (etc) - let them know you give a damn about what they are going through.
Not judge and be quick to love on them.
Do not tell them people out there have it worse. That's only hurting them more.
Remind them they are LOVED, UNIQUE, NORMAL and SIGNIFICANT.
Last - Be present in their moments of brokenness and nights when they are a trainwreck. Do not give up on them. You could be all they have.
Tony Cox Jr