Is #BreakTheStigma a Success?
Updated: May 23, 2020
Is #BreakTheStigma a Success?
Guest Blog Post
Phoebe Lorraine // Nicole Cox
On average, 1 in 5 Americans – nearly 47 million people – deal with mental illness. Despite the staggering statistics, there’s still a certain stigma surrounding mental illness, carrying over from the days of lobotomies, electroshock, and conversion therapies. An inpatient mental health treatment center can still be dubbed a “nut house” and others laugh along. It’s a well-known fact that people tend to only care deeply about issues that personally affect them, and mental health is no different.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, people worldwide are experiencing mental duress and psychological turmoil in varying degrees. For those already suffering from mental illness, this change in routine can be detrimental, while the mandated quarantines may be a welcome break from society. For those who were successfully masking signs and symptoms of dysfunction, suddenly being without their support system and alone with themselves has brought to light shocking thoughts, bizarre behavior, and unhealthy coping mechanisms. In short, they’ve come to realize their mental health is in decline. As a result, many are now seeing mental illness with greater clarity and less callousness.
BreakTheStigma.org is a site dedicated to breaking the stigma of “negative attitudes and beliefs towards people who have a mental health condition.” Many people accept that if your body is injured, you go to a doctor. If your teeth are damaged, you go to a dentist. And now many people are coming to accept that when your mind is injured, damaged, or endangered, you seek out a therapist.
#BreakTheStigma is trending on social media and mental health sites around the world. With suicide rates on the rise and rapidly becoming a leading cause of death in the United States, campaigns such as #BreakTheStigma are crucial to reaching out to those who are in need help and those who are desperately trying to provide it.
On a national scale, First Lady Melania Trump’s initiative #BeBest focuses on some of the major issues facing children today. Her mission statement reads, in part: “It remains our generation’s moral imperative to take responsibility and help our children manage the many issues they are facing today, including encouraging positive social, emotional, and physical habits.” As a pivotal figure on the world’s stage, Mrs. Trump puts the spotlight on many of the issues young people face in the modern world. By spreading knowledge, awareness, and resources, she reinforces the acceptance and importance of taking care of yourself and those around you.
And with Former First Lady Michelle Obama's #LetsMove campaign, also being a gateway to fighting mental health – since exercise is a great, and working, copying strategy – maybe the stigma won't be terrifyingly hard to break. with amazing models like Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Obama, can we #BreakTheStigma?