We all probably recently heard that a politician indicated that veterans who come back home with PTSD are weak. Why would one suggest such a thing? Because sadly, this is the view that many hold.
The stigmas surrounding mental health challenges, including PTSD, depression, and suicide (among others) are alive and well. All that you have to do is search for hashtags #stopthestigma or #endstigma to see how many people experience stigma.
Stigma is a problem not only because it prevents people from reaching out for help but also because it results in isolation, poor self-esteem, and poor treatment outcomes. You can read more about the prevalence, causes, and effects of stigma here.
If you are a veteran reading this, please know this. You are STRONG. Whatever you experienced and whatever you continue to experience wasn't and isn't your fault. YOU ARE STRONG. THIS ISN'T YOUR FAULT. Help is available, and you are worth it.
Here is a directory of therapists. You can apply many filters, to narrow down who might be a good match for you.
You Are Not Alone. You Are Strong.
I recently came across this infographic on Pinterest, and thought I would share it. The pictures are of brain scans, showing the differences between people with a diagnosis vs. those without.
It is a good reminder that we need to take the stigma away from mental illness. So many of my clients share their stories about the shame of struggling with mental health challenges.
Sometimes, pictures like this help us to realize that what we are experiencing isn't something that is "made up," "annoying," or something one can just "get over" with the snap of a finger (wouldn't that be nice....).
The reality is that many of us struggle or have struggled with mental health challenges (including me!). 1 out of every 4 adults suffers from a diagnosable mental illness any given year. We are not alone. Help is available! There is hope.
Hope you all are having a great week!
Amber is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. She offers counseling for individual adults and clinical supervision for social workers. For fun, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, researching genealogy, reading, and dragon boating.
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