How Parents Can End the Stigma Around Mental Health
Raising kids isn’t easy. There’s a reason being a parent is also called a full time job. Whether we care to admit it or not, a parent’s words and actions in the household are contagious. This is why parents have the ability to end the stigma around mental health at home. Unfortunately we cannot always control what happens outside of the comforts of home, but ending the stigma in the house will have great benefits on your children. Keep reading to learn about mental health and illness, and the stigma that surrounds it. We also include ways on how to get a child help with mental health and substance abuse issues.
What Is Mental Health?
Mental health is our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. Our mental health affects how we think, feel, and act. How stable we are within our mental health can help to determine how we handle stress and stressors, how we relate to others, and how we make decisions. There are many different factors that may contribute to mental health problems. These factors include:
- Biology: This can be things such as genes or brain chemistry.
- Life experience: This can be things such as abuse (mental, physical, sexual) or trauma.
- Family history of mental health problems: This can be seen within the genes, but can also contribute to environmental factors.
Good mental health is important in all ages of life whether it be childhood, adolescence, adulthood, or in the elderly. Mental illness is a condition that affects one’s mental health. This means that it affects the way an individual thinks, feels, or behaves. Mental illnesses and mental disorders are much more common than people think. For example:
- 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
- 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24
Why Is There a Stigma Around Mental Illness?
There seems to be a stigma around mental illness because people are afraid to talk about it. Research has shown that the public seems to disapprove of people with psychiatric disabilities significantly more than individuals with related conditions such as physical illness. In contrast to individuals with physical illness, research shows that the public sees individuals with mental illnesses as in control of their illness and that they are responsible for causing them.
Tips for Parents to End the Stigma Around Mental Health in the Home
There are many different ways that parents can combat stigma around mental health in their home. These ways include:
- Talk regularly and openly about mental health: This can not only help end stigma on mental health within the home, but it can also help relieve some of the stress that is caused by mental health. This will help each individual within the home understand that it’s ok to discuss/share emotions and mental health issues.
- Educate oneself and others: Educating family members on mental health, the stigma behind it, and how to help each issue involved, is very crucial within the home.
- Be cautious of language usage: Do not use derogatory language within the home. This can lead to even more stigma and uncomfortability.
- Encourage equality of importance between mental illness and physical illness: Help family members understand that mental illness is just as important as physical illness. Both should be looked at as a serious illness and not an individual’s fault. Knowing that people are not in control of their illnesses is crucial in understanding why stigma is wrong.
Adolescent Wellness Academy Is Ready to Help Your Teen
Here at Adolescent Wellness Academy, we want to end the stigma behind mental health/illnesses and we want to better prepare parents to help them end stigma within their home. We understand how much mental health/illnesses affect each individual person, and especially how it affects the youth. Reach out to us today to receive more information on mental health and to learn about different treatment options!