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.
As you all know, we had another mass shooting recently, this time close to home. Sadly, these incidents are becoming all too familiar. In the aftermath, questions are asked. Is this a gun issue? Is this a mental health issue? I only have to look at my Facebook feed to know that people are quite passionate about these issues, whatever their stance is. I am not here today to debate one side or the other or to provide solutions to a complex problem. I do want to begin a conversation however, about mental illness and violence. Spoiler alert—mental illness does NOT cause violence. Please inform yourselves, so that you can have the correct information when it comes to the relationship between mental health and violence.
What Americans Believe
Why We Believe It
What are the facts?
Why does it matter?
The next time you hear a report on the news, or have a conversation with a friend on this topic, if you notice that mental health is being blamed, maybe you can let the person know that mental illness does not cause violence. Thank you for doing your part in stopping the stigma surrounding mental health and violence.
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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