Mental Health Stigma: The Solution – Speaking Out (Article 3 in the Stigma Series)

More and more doctors, researchers, school programs, and the media are working to educate the public to overcome this unnecessary disgrace.

You Need to Do Your Part
Every time the topic of mental illness comes up in conversation or in public, one more person has the potential to be educated, and therefore the ability to let go of the stigma. As patients, it is equally important that we freely talk about it, without embarrassment, guilt or shame. This battle can be won, one person at a time, if we all do our parts.

Celebrities Speaking Out 
Even celebrities are speaking out against the stigma, by opening up and telling the world about their own mental illnesses. They are admitting to having problems that, in the past, would have ended their careers.

Donny Osmond, in the Afraid of People documentary said ““I suffered from Social Anxiety Disorder for quite a few years, and since my treatment, since I’ve been able to alleviate that problem from my life. Life is so much more enjoyable now. You don’t have to worry about what people are saying about you. You don’t have to worry about what people are thinking. You don’t have to second guess what you’re going to say or do in public and think somebody’s going to laugh at you because you can just be yourself and enjoy life.”

This kind of progress is the goal of all of us that suffer from any mental illness.

Actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter, and film director; Stephen Fry has opened up about having Bipolar Disorder. He said in the documentary The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive: The Stephen Fry Story, that “Manic types do well in Hollywood; in all of show business, for that matter. Euphoric highs and crippling lows seem to go with the territory and don’t attract the stigma found everywhere else. Since my own diagnosis, I kept working and found ways to cope. And, I’ve also kept quiet about my condition. Now I want to speak out, to fight the stigma and to give a clearer picture of a mental illness that most people know little about.”

Other celebrities that have spoken out about their mental illnesses include:
• Michael Landsberg, TV host
• Clara Hughes, Athlete
• Stéphane Richer, Athlete
• Darryl Strawberry, Athlete
• Abraham Lincoln, US President
• Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister
• Catherine Zeta-Jones, Actress
• Demi Lovato, Pop Singer
• Elizabeth Manley, Athlete
• Amy Sky, Singer and Songwriter

Silence is Not Golden 
Talking about it is not complaining, embarrassing, or hurtful. In fact, it is just the opposite; it is powerful. Anyone can hide behind a wall for protection. We all do it; but stepping out of that safety zone takes strength, courage, desire, and a willingness to be used in creating change.

by Carley Cooper; Website:; Blogs: Worship Melodies and Tin Roof Sundae. Also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

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