3 steps to demystify stigma

3 steps to demystify stigma

According to the Centre for Addiction and  Mental Health (CAMH), in Canada, 1 person in 5  will have a mental health problem during their lifetime.

If over 6 million people in Canada alone will experience these challenges, meaning that you and I could be part of that number, why are folks with mental health problems still looked upon like they don’t belong to society?

Why are they constantly discriminated against?

Because of STIGMA!

Our fear of what we don’t know is leading us to continue to exclude humans by depriving them of great opportunities, preventing them from exploiting their uncapped potential no matter how driven they are, and how badly they want to put their capabilities to use in order to contribute to the economic growth of the places they reside in. 

Working with students facing mental health challenges and addictions has shown me the harsh reality that they endure on a daily basis and how difficult it is for them to have their voices heard. 

They put in the work to fight their demons, yet only a few are willing to give them a vote of confidence, especially when it comes to career advancement.

Most of these students are Canadian born and raised; if for them, feeling discriminated against is the norm, imagine what an immigrant who opens up about their mental health will endure? 

Just some food for thought!

How can we help to demystify the stigma?

Here are 3 simple steps to get started: 

  • First of all, by making an effort an effort to educate ourselves about the causes of mental health imbalances, we will be more likely to put ourselves in the shoes of the folks who live with these challenges instead of being scared of them
  • By challenging our own biases – we might have grown up with a thousand prejudices but it is up to us continue to live that way, especially today, with all the information we have available about the topic that shows that someone’s health is just one part of who they are and that doesn’t define the contributions they can make. Our biases exclude and we need more inclusion
  • By educating others so we change the normalized language that we have been using for so long to refer to folks with mental health challenges. Language is powerful and using it for stereotyping only deepens the problem. 

Please remember that you and your loved ones are not immune to having your mental health impacted at some point in your life, especially now that we are going through these times of global turmoil.

How would you feel if your loved ones got all doors shut in their face? 

How would YOU feel if you got all doors shut in your face?

Written by David Mendoza for Orbit 5


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