Inch by inch and step by step we are making progress in the battle against the stigma related to mental-health illness. The progress has been slow for sure, and comes primarily in the form of articles being written about the existence of this stigma. The stigma is definitely still a factor in the mental-health conversation, but at least people are talking about that stigma. Does that sound like progress? Yes, it does, certainly to me, because we are talking about and acknowledging the existence of mental-health issues. We are not ignoring the topic hoping it will go away.
Each of these articles to which I referred above talks about people, famous and not-so-famous, admitting that they have mental-health challenges. Carson Daly, host of The Voice and a contributor on the Today Show, admits battling a panic and anxiety disorder since childhood. Charlamagne Tha God, a radio host and best-selling author of Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me, admits that even though he talks and writes about having mental-health issues, he is still not totally comfortable with this persona. Allison Schmitt, a gold medal Olympic swimmer, Kevin Love, a professional basketball player, Jason Kander, a politician, and so many more well-known people have come forward and raised their hands and said, “Yes, I have a mental-health challenge.” But even with so many people confessing to having mental-health issues, we unfortunately are still not free of the stigma.
Our society has a long way to go to get up to speed on accepting mental-health illness and treating it like any other illness. Until that happens, people will remain wary and reticent in seeking help for their mental-health issue. Depression will go untreated. Anxiety will go untreated. Panic disorders will go untreated. Bi-polar disorders will remain in the closet. And this result is so unfortunate, because there are so many ways to get help and lead a healthy, productive, and normal life.
For resources for help please refer to the list below.