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How the Stigma of Bipolar Disorder Motivated This Man to Improve Mental Health Care

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Even when money and access aren’t an issue - there is another, less-concrete roadblock keeping people from receiving treatment for their mental health. I’m Kyle Kittleson. This is MedCircle News.

According to a recent Psychology Today article, “About half of people in the United States are estimated to have a diagnosable mental illness at some point in their lives.” And only about half of the people who experience mental health difficulties will seek out treatment. Why? Stigma.

One mental health expert, fueled by the memory of his father’s extreme bipolar disorder, has dedicated his career to “combating the stigma of mental health.” Stephen Hinshaw is a professor of psychology at UC Berkely and says the mental health stigma deterred his father from getting treatment.

Although many would argue that the stigma surrounding mental health has improved over the last seven decades or so - there is still much of the population who does not understand the reality of mental illness.

According to some reports, Kate Spade, who committed suicide in 2018, did not seek out treatment for her mental health in fear of endangering her brand.

Studies indicate that the majority of our public us unwillingly to work closely with someone who has a mental illness.

The public is also misinformed on the behavior from those with a mental health difficulty - believing they are more violent, when in fact, those with a mental health disorder are more likely to suffer from a violent attack than to commit any violent act.

So, what can we do to fight off the stigma?

Hinshaw says that openly talking about mental health is key. He continues, “All the facts in the world aren’t going to replace when people with mental health issues and their families talk about it. Now we start to get the dialog going, and society can no longer sweep the issue under the rug.”

Do you feel comfortable talking about mental health with your close family and friends? Let me know in the comment section below. I also want to take this time to tell you that you are not alone. I personally shared my experience with depression in our original series with depression expert, Dr. Sue Varma. You can watch that series and more when you become a subscriber at MedCircle.com. I’m Kyle Kittleson. And remember, whatever you're going through, you got this.

Source: Psychology Today


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