by Amanda Snizek, LMSW
Have you ever noticed how it’s easier for us to reach for the cold medicine when we are feeling sick, but then we are so reluctant to seek medication from a prescriber when we feel anxious or depressed?
Most would agree that physical and mental health are equally important for overall well-being, however, we do not treat these equally. Society teaches us when we are feeling overwhelmed, or in need of a break, we need to “tough it out” and “push through”. People who struggle with their mental health face many misconceptions, judgements, and stereotypes. This is due in large part to the stigmas surrounding mental health. We know that our physical health can impact our mental health, and our mental health can impact our physical health, so we need to make sure both are being taken care of!
The stigma surrounding mental health has improved over recent years, however it still has a long way to go. So what can we do? We can begin by having open conversations surrounding our mental health. Have these conversations with friends, family, loved ones, peers, coworkers, and in therapy. Normalize that it is okay to not be okay. Normalize having feelings and normalize validating feelings. We can normalize using a “sick day” from work for a mental health day. Remind yourself that it is “okay” to take breaks and engage in self-care. Refrain from language, or labels, like “you’re being crazy/psycho/bipolar” , that might perpetuate negative stereotypes.