When I was going through my thyroid diagnosis and treatment, I never felt like I should keep it a secret. I was going to an endocronologist, I knew I was doing the right thing for my health, and no one judged you for taking thyroid medication or getting treatments.
So, why is it not the same when it comes to mental health?
It should be, and I truly believe that one of the first things we could do as a community to change how it is talked about and the stigma around it is by changing the term we use. Mental health has a negative connotation in that many believe that our “mental state” is something we can control, and if we can’t control it, it is because we are weak. You can see this connotation is how people use mental informally to mean crazy. Mental is intangible.
So, why not instead call the study of mental illness
And instead of mental illnesses, we suffer from brain disorders?
These changes in terms show that the illnesses that many, including me, suffer are from imbalances in the brain, not something we are making up in our intangible thoughts. Brain health and brain disorders are very tangible things–they are all tied to chemicals, hormones, genetics, and trauma.
Let’s eliminate the stigma by changing the discussion! If we are suffering from brain health issues, we should see a professional, just like if we had heart or thyroid or other health issues. If we need time off for our brain health, just like if we had a cold, and we should be able to say that.
Think of how many lives we could save if kids (and adults!) realized that our brain health is as important as ear, nose, and throat or cardiology?
Advocate with me, and end the stigma!