Challenging stigma associated with mental health conditions

ZS Archives | Challenging stigma associated with mental health conditions

Everyone has a role to play in creating a mentally healthy community – one that is inclusive, rejects discrimination and supports recovery.

Ways to help include:


  • Learning the facts about symptoms and conditions and sharing them with family, friends, work colleagues and classmates
  • Get to know people with personal experiences of mental health disorders so you learn to see them for the person they are rather than their condition
  • Don’t judge, label or discriminate when you meet people with mental health disorders. Treat all people with respect and dignity.
  • Avoid using language that puts the condition first and the person second. Say ‘a person with bipolar disorder’ rather than ‘that person is bipolar’.
  • Saying something when you hear people around you making stereotypical or inaccurate comments about mental health
  • Sharing your own experience of managing mental health conditions (if you have experienced it). This will help dispel myths and encourage others to do the same. Mental health is not something shameful that needs to be hidden.

Self-Stigma


Self-stigmatization is a component of the broader social phenomenon known as stigmatization. The process of stigmatization involves labelling differences as undesirable and can result in social exclusion, disempowerment, and discrimination. While any aspect of human experience can be stigmatized if deemed abnormal or undesirable, recent research in psychology has focused primarily on stigmatization of “mental health conditions.”

However, research also suggests that, instead of being diminished by the stigma, many people become angry because of the prejudice that they have experienced. This kind of reaction empowers people to change their roles in the mental health system, becoming more active participants in their treatment plan and often pushing for improvements in the quality of services.

Takeaways from This Overcoming Self-Stigma Guide

So, as a guide to overcoming self-stigma, proper nutrition, adequate sleep, exercise and a fulfilling social life can go a long way towards increasing feelings of one’s self-worth. By following the guide, you regain your humanity.

Do so by implementing the following:


  • Exercising regularly will encourage you to no longer view yourself as weak; as a victim of your condition.
  • Getting enough sleep will initiate a reduction in anxiety and depression.
  • Eating healthy will provide your brain with the necessary nutrients to keep your ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters firing.
  • Engaging in social activities will help you work with your social anxiety disorder

As we come to realize that stigma plays an active role in mental health, so should we also be taking on the role to prevent stigmatization and discrimination. Our roles as members of society are not to make life even more unbearable for people struggling with mental health conditions, but rather to try and understand mental health and its effects as a whole.

Sometimes it can be difficult to find a mental health clinic or mental health specialist you feel comfortable with. At ZwavelStream clinic, you will be met by a team of warm, dedicated and experienced professionals. We strive to provide our patients with a mixed therapeutic model of psychiatric care so that you can discover a renewed sense of wellness that extends beyond mental health.

Zwavelstream Clinic is set in the Bronberg, with lush vegetation, manicured gardens, as well as spacious and tastefully furnished rooms. Our mental health clinic was inspired by the desire to provide a psychiatric unit in an environment that “de-institutionalizes and de-stigmatizes” mental health hospitals. We also provide holistic treatment specifically designed to meet your personal needs. Our treatment and support will help you on your journey to wellness. Our facility is the perfect tranquil setting, where you can relax and concentrate on healing. Contact us today to discuss your needs.

Apr 7, 2020

The stigmatization of mental health

Mental health in South Africa holds many challenges. On one hand, people struggling with these illnesses struggle with the symptoms and disabilities that result from the […]