July is Minority Mental Health Month: Breaking the Stigma

Mental health affects people from every race, religion and ethnic group. According to www.samhsa.gov, one in five adults and one in ten children in America are affected by mental health. Nearly two-thirds of those affected do not seek treatment, with an even lesser percentage of minorities seeking treatment.

Stigma is one of the leading reasons people do not seek treatment for mental health conditions, especially in minority communities. People will openly discuss a medical condition, but when it comes to mental health, they shy away.

How can we break the stigma?

Get help. If you are struggling with a mental health condition, the first step is to get help. The same as you would get help if you had high blood pressure or diabetes, get help if you are struggling with depression, anxiety, stress or any other mental health condition. Seek help from a licensed mental health professional who can ensure you are receiving proper treatment.

Don’t doubt or shame yourself. Don’t let the fact that you are seeing a professional for a mental health condition cause doubt or shame in your mind. Seeing a counselor, educating yourself about your condition and connecting with others can help you gain self-esteem and overcome any negative self-image you may struggle with.

Tell your story. Sharing your success story will help tear down walls. Telling your story can instill courage in others who may be struggling with the same challenges and inspire them to seek help. Those who are critical often suffer from a lack of understanding. Help them understand by sharing your story.

If you struggle with a mental health condition, your EAP is here to help. Your BHS Care Coordinator can advise you of your benefits, help you set an appointment and even locate community resources. To speak with your BHS Care Coordinator, call 800-245-1150.