An estimated 25% of American adults and nearly 10% of children suffer from a mental illness Nonetheless, there is often a stigma attached to mental illness, and often inaccurate portrayals of mental illness in the media.
People with mental illness and their families can take certain steps to help cope with the stigma:
You may have heard people call someone else a “psychopath” or a “sociopath.” But what do those words really mean?
You won’t find the definitions in mental health’s official handbook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Doctors don’t officially diagnose people as psychopaths or sociopaths. They use a different term instead: antisocial personality disorder.
Most experts believe psychopaths and sociopaths share a similar set of traits. People like this have a poor inner sense...
Remembering that you and your loved ones have choices: You can decide whom to tell about the mental illness -- just as you can with any other personal or private information -- and what to tell them.
Remembering that you are not alone: Many other people cope with similar situations. People commonly struggle with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other mental illnesses.
Keeping hope and remembering that treatment works: Safe and effective medications and psychotherapeutic treatments are available, and newer treatments are being developed. As a result, many individuals with mental illness enjoy productive lives.
Praising your loved one for seeking help: Mental health treatment can be difficult, as people often need to be patient in trying new medications, coping with side effects, and learning new behaviors. Helping your loved one to feel good about him or herself is important.
Remaining active and surrounding yourself with supportive people: Social isolation can be a negative side effect of the stigma linked to mental illness. Isolation and ceasing to participate in activities you or your loved one enjoys put you at high risk for depression and burnout. Take a risk and try new activities in your community. You may want to investigate the local chapter of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) or a volunteer organization.