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Sharing Our Personal Experience With Mental Health Reduces Stigma and Can Help Our Community

by | May 22, 2023 | Mental Health, Stigma

Forward, Together with western tidewater community services board

There is still so much shame surrounding mental health. This stigma causes people to not reach out for help when they need it. It also causes them to keep their experiences to themselves. This is bad not only for the individual but for the whole community.

Related: Talking To Your Kids About Mental Health

The Mental Health Stigma Keeps Us From Living Our Best Lives

It’s important that we encourage ourselves and others to seek help, despite the stigma surrounding mental health.

Charlene Cutting, CRS, TOT, Prevention Manager for WTCSB, says:

“The words ‘mental health’ themselves are not negative, and yet sadly, there is a stigma about them. A stigma so vast and misinformed that it prevents people from seeking the help and support that they need to be the best versions of themselves, to live a life with purpose and opportunity.”

Sharing Your Experience Can Help Someone Else

When you talk about your experiences with your mental health, you’re not only able to help yourself by getting the services and support you need, you’re able to help those you share your story with.

By talking about your mental health, you normalize your experiences, and others who are going through the same thing are validated, meaning that they are more likely to also seek help. Later, they might decide to share their own story and encourage someone else.

This cycle knocks down barriers and, in time, will lead to a healthier, happier community.

Are you hesitant to talk about your mental health with the people in your life? Try starting with a peer support group. These groups allow you to talk to, get advice from, and connect with others who’ve been through the same thing and have successfully recovered.

Talking About Mental Health Takes Courage

You are most powerful when you allow yourself to be vulnerable. By sharing your story, you are empowered to let yourself have what you need to become the best version of yourself and to help others who are struggling to do the same.

As Charlene says:

“Let’s find the courage to change our thinking from ‘What’s wrong with you?’ to perhaps ‘What happened to you?’ Let us be the change that we want to see in our communities and the world. Let’s talk about mental health.”

In the following video, WTCSB Prevention Manager Charlene Cutting talks about how sharing our mental health experiences can make our community better.

Are You Ready To Reach Out For Help?

If you’re struggling with your mental health, we’re here for you.

Make an appointment online for same-day access today, or call us at 757-758-5106.

Do you need to talk to someone now? Call the Region Five Crisis Center anytime, 24/7, at 757-656-7755.

Reaching out for help not only gives you what you need to thrive and be well, but it also encourages others to do the same.

Let’s fight stigma together.

Let’s move forward, together.

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