The social stigma of help-seeking is one of the reasons why people, who are secretly battling depression, hate the idea of going to counseling. This stigma, which has long been living in the mind of many, still tops the lists of the common misconceptions about the topics of depression and anxiety.
If you are seeking a psychiatrist, then you must be crazy. These non-verbatim thoughts of a lot of people are the reason why people even those who are not dealing with serious mental problems, avoid professional help. Daisy Chow, LPC, NCC once said, “Just because I’m in therapy it doesn’t mean that I am crazy. No one is going to invalidate your problems.” She’s right.
Even if one’s counseling is not publicized, the stigma can affect a person internally which can result in self-judgment and further neglect of the looming serious mental problem.
What Is The Public Stigma Exactly?
Public stigma is the set of beliefs, attitudes, and discrimination towards people who are suffering from mental health problems. Society devalues these mentally challenged people, even extending this set of attitude to their family. This person came from a family of crazy people, so he/she must also be crazy. “Our society tells us that if you talk about your issues, express your feelings, or even verbalize you have a mental health disorder, you must be “weak.”,” Ryan Parks, M.Ed, LPCC explains.
Society, under the stigma, rejects these people and their families as it deems their behavior and condition unacceptable aside from them being different from the majority.
Therapists and counselors are very well-aware of this social stigma attached to counseling. This stigma, in fact, makes people uncomfortable for themselves as being tagged as ‘crazy’ generally turns off anyone.
Because of the social stigma, people also eventually neglect their need for professional help to avoid stereotypical tagging. What would other people think of me when they knew I’m seeing a therapist? Perhaps, they would think I am a failure, if not crazy.
This Social Stigma Bothers Me, What Should I Do?
Even therapists and psychologists say this – not all their clients are dealing with a serious mental illness. In fact, there are professionals (doctors, athletes, celebrities, and even famous people) who consult professional help and share their emotions with a counselor.
“Bring the right people into your life.” –Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D
This stigma is getting old as time progresses and this is excellent news. There are already a lot of support groups around the globe that educate others regarding mental health. These support groups help in banishing the public stigma and turn their respective societies into a supportive environment for people dealing with serious mental health issues.
If this social stigma still bugs your mind and hinders your decision of getting therapy, it’s better that you find motivation from people who have undergone a successful therapy. You need not go anywhere else. There are lots of therapy and counseling clients online who will honestly give their real accounts of the journey towards healing. Take note; these people are not even crazy!
However, it is also important to note that if you have decided to seek professional help, the social stigma of counseling should be set aside, if not erased, from your mind. Too much thinking and weighing of the stigma can, in fact, lead to self-stigma. This can have a negative impact on the effectiveness of a promising therapy.
Therapy and counseling don’t automatically equate you to being crazy, hopeless, and a failure. In today’s generation, everyone gets educated, and this social stigma is now being obsolete. Whether it is just stress or anxiety, seeking professional help will pave your way towards incredible healing.