Self-Stigma: Fueled by the Online Stigma of Mental Health
June 23, 2016

The Online Stigma of Mental Health is Building Self-Stigma

1 in 5 people struggle with mental illness, but many of those people don’t seek help. Many people fear the idea of being diagnosis with a mental health issue. They fear the idea of seeing a counselor or therapist. But it’s not just fear that is preventing people from seeking help. The online stigma of mental health is driving people’s misconceptions of mental health. The majority of people today have a negative attitude towards mental health. The stereotypes that have developed from mental health stigmas have deem people as “crazy”, “weird”, or even “dangerous”. Due to this, people aren’t getting the help they need. Psych Central discusses new research that found the online stigma of mental health is stopping people from obtaining information and counseling for mental illnesses.

The Research Behind the Theory

Researchers conducted a study to determine how online stigma of mental health was effecting individual’s likelihood to seek help for mental health concerns. The study was designed to measure how participants responded when given the opportunity to learn more online about mental health concerns and university counseling services. 370 college students participated in the study, and out of those students only 8.7 percent clicked the link for mental health information and 9 percent sought counseling information.

College Development

Identification of mental health issues often comes during college, a time that is commonly connected to change in young adults. College is one of the most important times of development and discovering self-identity for young adults, which is why it is essential that they don’t allow the online stigma of mental health to deter them from getting help. If not handled, distress can be the fuel to self-destruction. When people don’t seek the help they need, eventually distress overpowers avoidance. Typically, by the time someone reaches a high level of distress, he or she is often struggling to function.

Recognizing the Truth of Mental Illness

Recognizing the potential of mental illness in yourself can be scary, but avoiding it due to the online stigma of mental health is not an option. Guiding yourself back from self-destruction isn’t easy. Don’t allow yourself to reach a level of distress that brings you to that point. You are not an online stigma of mental health and you are not alone.

For more information about online stigma of mental health, check out Seven Stars.

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