Even though there has been greater acceptance and understanding of mental illness in recent years, there is still a stigma, or sense of shame, attached to having a mental illness. The stigma comes from the general public’s lack of understanding about mental illness. People diagnosed with a mental illness and their families can take certain steps to help cope with this stigma.
Here are some important ways to cope if you, or a family member, have a mental illness:
Remember always, too, that you and your loved ones have choices. Whom you wish to tell about the mental illness - and what you want that other person to know - is your decision. It is important to accept the diagnosis and to learn about your illness. This way, you can be prepared to be an active part of your treatment decisions and ask for help when you need it the most. Silence can be isolating; having your loved ones and your doctor support you can make a world of difference.
Remember that there is always hope. Discuss your goals with your doctors. It’s important for you to be an active part in making the decisions about your treatment. It is also important to help your family understand your diagnosis - the more they know, the more they can help you. Stigma happens because people don’t understand mental illness. Educating our community about the facts can be very helpful.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
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