Why did your organization become a member of The Anti-Stigma Coalition ?
We only recently became a member of the Anti-Stigma Coalition, but we have been writing about mental health and anti-stigma for more than 12 years and include a mental health awareness article in every single issue of the magazine. This October, we will be publishing our 150th issue!
How are people with mental health challenges impacted by stigma?
People with mental health challenges are reluctant to seek the help they need fearing that it reflects a weakness on their part. Unfortunately, mental health is seen as something separate from physical health. We would never stigmatize someone with diabetes. Yes, people who are dealing with mental health issues feel that they will be discriminated against. I have recently learned that men, especially, fear getting the help they need. When someone does not get the help that is available to them for any illness, it can impact their economic health, social health, and physical health. It also impacts other family members. We need to start viewing the ability and willingness to seek help for mental health issues as a strength and not a weakness.
What impact is the Let’s Talk Stigma Campaign having in the community?
The impact of Let’s Talk Stigma gives people permission to talk about their own challenges and empowers them to get the help they need. It also provides opportunities to learn where help is available. We are so fortunate that there are so many wonderful resources in Western New York to obtain that help. It is also opening people up to the realization that they are not alone.