The Stigma of Mental Illness

Last week I read an article on a popular Christian website that reinforced the stigma of mental illness. My initial reaction was anger. Why did this publication give voice to this ignorance? Why did this well-regarded Christian writer do so little to extend compassion and educated understanding to those suffering? I won’t even link to this article because I don’t want to give it further voice.

Stigma

Stigma is defined as a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. Those suffering with mental illness are stigmatized and this causes them to isolate. It also causes relational problems because their loved ones and community aren’t educated on how to support them.

No one heals in isolation. We do heal as we draw closer to God, and closer to one another. This is all a part of seeking the appropriate medical, emotional, relational, and spiritual guidance.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it is estimated that only about 17% of U.S adults are considered to be in a state of optimal mental health. Mental health involves our psychological, emotional, and social wellness. It affects how we think, how we interact in our relationships, and how we feel about ourselves and others. With the above information, why do we continue to live in denial, pretending as if mental illness is a rare issue relegated to “other people” and not the person sitting at our dinner tables or next to us at church on Sunday? We must address this problem as is it affects the very fabric of our society. Allowing the further stigmatization of mental illness will only deepen the shame and isolation of those suffering, as well as their loved ones.

Redemption

In the same week I read that hurtful article online, I also listened to a powerful podcast dedicated to breaking down the stigmas surrounding mental illness. This is redemption. There are people speaking life and truth and we need to celebrate those voices. I invite you to take some time to listen to this powerful message:

Further Steps:

If today’s post was meaningful to you, would you share it with a friend on social media? This is how we will help to break the stigma of mental illness! And if you want further help with mental health or relational issues, please visit our Counseling Referrals Page.

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