September 22, 2021
When discussing mental health, there is often a stigma associated, especially with the language we use. There is never a better time than now to start addressing the ways we can reduce these stigmas.
I recently watched a news report about an attempted kidnapping that was thwarted by the child herself by fighting back as the man tried to carry her away. The segment ended with “Thankfully, she’s doing fine.” I absolutely agree with being thankful and I am impressed by this kid’s courage. However, we can chisel at the mountain of stigmas with some subtle, yet important changes in our wording. For example we can say, “Thankfully she is physically fine, and we hope she will receive emotional support when she needs it.” These statements acknowledge or at least imply the mental health impacts of such an event.
We need to be more willing to acknowledge the high probability of mental health needs following a traumatic event. We also want to do it in a way that doesn’t imply the person is permanently broken. It’s no different than if a leg breaks because we know it can heal. The same message of acknowledgement and healing can be applied to emotional welfare.
Feel free to start practicing ways to send the same message and help reduce the stigma a little more. Furthermore, this doesn’t have to be in newscasts, this can be done with daily communications. Just remember, as there is no shame in breaking and then healing your leg, there should be no shame for your mental health battles.
The acknowledgement of the presence of a possible injury, plus the chances of a full recovery under the care of professionals, is the point. Use whatever works to send that same no-judgemental message when discussing matters of mental health. Eventually, our social norm will adapt to a more accepting view of mental health.
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