Despite greater awareness of mental health conditions and addiction, along with numerous media campaigns, fear and misunderstanding creates stigma that continues to proliferate. Stigma is just one of the reasons that many people don’t seek the help they need. It’s important to be able to discuss mental health conditions without furthering negative stereotypes and shaming that are components of stigma. There are numerous ways in which to accomplish those goals.

Examine Your Own Feelings and Attitudes

Before trying to have a meaningful conversation, individuals must evaluate their own attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions about mental health and addiction. Both are health care issues just as much as heart disease, diabetes or cancer. The negative attitudes that an individual has can be the result of upbringing, society, and being judgmental rather than being based in fact.

Educate Yourself and Others

Mental health issues and addiction occur in all age groups and can result from stress at home, work or school. Addiction and mental health aren’t character flaws, a moral deficiency, or a choice. Both conditions have a strong genetic component, can be biological or environmental in nature, or the result of a traumatic experience in childhood. Continually being exposed to injustice and prejudice will also take a toll. Addiction and mental health issues don’t happen in a vacuum.

Talk Openly

Speaking in hushed tones, euphemisms or using slang expressions isn’t helpful. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. Life can be busy, but taking the time to talk with a friend or family member experiencing mental health or addiction difficulties has the power to make a big difference. Accentuate positive aspects and successes the individuals has achieved.

Support and Compassion

Words have weight and they can hurt or help. Choose words carefully and make eye contact. A kind word or gesture can make an enormous difference in someone’s life. It’s not the person, rather untreated addiction and mental health conditions that are the cause of unwanted behaviors.

Inclusiveness Matters

The stigma surrounding addition and mental health often leads to exclusion by others or self-imposed withdrawal. Ostracizing someone with either condition is counterproductive and reinforces stigma.


Southcoast Psychiatric Services

Are you struggling with anxiety, depression, feelings of hopelessness, relationship problems, or other pressures of life? Don’t suffer in silence. The doctors and therapists of Southcoast Psychiatric Services can help. Caring, compassionate, and completely confidential, our services are provided by highly-experienced, licensed, and board-certified healthcare professionals, dedicated to improving your health and wellness.

Whether you require medical treatment, counseling/psychotherapy, or both, we are happy to offer the best care available – at your convenience.

Call us anytime @ (561) 241-6628 Because you don’t have to suffer in silence.