There are attitudes in many societies that view psychopathology as an uncomfortable conversation and easier to not address. These attitudes often make for stigma and discrimination towards people with mental health problems. I think mental health stigma as a disease and education is the cure. So, lets cure the stigma disease by talking about it.
Lets start a convo with facts, according to a recent NAMI article: Mental Health By The Numbers. Here are verbatim statistics for us Americans:
Prevalence of Mental Illness
Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.1
Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.2
Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.3
1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia.4
2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder.5
6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.6
18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.7
Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.
An estimated 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46% live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders.9
Approximately 20% of state prisoners and 21% of local jail prisoners have “a recent history” of a mental health condition.10
70% of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and at least 20% live with a serious mental illness.11
Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. Among adults with a serious mental illness, 62.9% received mental health services in the past year.8
Just over half (50.6%) of children with a mental health condition aged 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year.12
African Americans and Hispanic Americans each use mental health services at about one-half the rate of Caucasian Americans and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.13
Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatment, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help
The last article stat section expands on "Consequences Of Lack Of Treatment". Please, click here for full article.
Coming from someone that endured parents, friends and personal behavioral health concerns, it IS manageable. It nothing to be ashamed about. Coming from someone that has been discriminated by an outside looking in perspective, mental health conditions are something EVERYONE has during their lifetime. It is not what some imaginations I have heard conjures it up to be; there are a range far and wide of conditions and causes of behavioral health. Not asking questions to understand and simply assuming are dangerous in any part of life.
For more serious mental health concerns, such as schizophrenia, Psychosocial Treatments have proven to be a benefit. These treatments are helpful after patients and their doctor find a medication that works. Learning and using coping skills to address the everyday challenges of schizophrenia helps people to pursue their life goals, such as attending school or work. Individuals who participate in regular psychosocial treatment are less likely to have relapses or be hospitalized. For more information on psychosocial treatments, see the Psychotherapies webpage on the NIMH website.
According to a "The National Institute of Mental Health Information Resource Center" article, here are verbatim ways you can help a person with serious mental health issues.
"How can I help someone I know with schizophrenia?
Caring for and supporting a loved one with schizophrenia can be hard. It can be difficult to know how to respond to someone who makes strange or clearly false statements. It is important to understand that schizophrenia is a biological illness.
Here are some things you can do to help your loved one:
Get them treatment and encourage them to stay in treatment
Remember that their beliefs or hallucinations seem very real to them
Tell them that you acknowledge that everyone has the right to see things their own way
Be respectful, supportive, and kind without tolerating dangerous or inappropriate behavior
Check to see if there are any support groups in your area"
How can we eliminate the stigma?
"We have an understanding of mental health stigma and how it affects sufferers, both in terms of their role in society and their route to recovery. It is not surprising, then, that attention has most recently turned to developing ways in which stigma and discrimination can be reduced. The fact that such negative attitudes appear to be so entrenched suggests that campaigns to change these beliefs will have to be multifaceted, will have to do more than just impart knowledge about mental health problems, and will need to challenge existing negative stereotypes especially as they are portrayed in the general media (Pinfold, Toulmin, Thornicroft, Huxley et al., 2003)."- according to a 2004 Psychology Today article.
Total-Razzaq's SMILE clothing collection utilize this knowledge. SMILE educates how smiling better mental health and starts conversation to erase the Mental Health stigma. Each collection starts a conversation with educational facts about stigma, natural self care remedies and by the way, makes you feel good about your self. Our shirt product incorporates QR code technology that allows the shirt to be scanned. In turn, it will navigate the scanner to this or other articles. Affording the user convenient education, while on the go. Imagine your shirt being a conversation starter and getting it scanned for perception changing proof. That is amazing! That is Total-Razzaq's primary method to end the stigma and better a person's behavioral health.