Community and Sustained Sobriety
Across the United States, millions of people live with mental illness and addiction. Unfortunately, due to incorrect stigmas related to mental health care, many people don’t seek out the support they need for a healthier life. They suffer in silence, afraid to speak out because of how it may change other people’s opinions of them.
Stigmas and Mental Health Care
Stigmas are negative (and false) beliefs about other people due to a certain characteristic or behavior. When people hold stigmas, they may discriminate against others.
Unfortunately, there are many stigmas related to mental health—and none of them are based in fact. For instance, people may believe that people who experience mental illness are violent or dangerous. In reality, people who experience mental illness are more likely to be the victim of violence than the perpetrator.
Stigmas also have harmful effects, keeping people from the support they need. People with mental illness may be bullied due to stigmas or feel misunderstood by friends, family, and coworkers. They may have trouble finding work or somewhere to live due to stigmas around their condition. They may also believe that they can’t improve their health—when in fact, many treatments are effective.
Unfortunately, many people who experience addiction also experience mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety. These people face multiple types of stigmas, making it even harder to find care.
The Effort to Erase Stigmas
Mental health advocates work hard every day to correct stigmas, increase insurance coverage for mental health care, and encourage people to find the treatment they need. Recently, many celebrities have taken up the cause, becoming outspoken about their struggles with mental health or addiction.
Recently, Eminem shared on his Twitter account that he is 11 years sober, showing a picture of his sober chip. Over the last decade, Eminem has become more outspoken about his struggle with addiction to pills and how it almost cost him his life. He credits his family and exercise with helping him stay sober.
Demi Lovato has also opened up about her diagnosis of bipolar disorder, becoming a spokeswoman for the Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health campaign. She has spoken about how you can life a normal, successful life with mental illness and encourages others to speak up, too.
Many other celebrities have joined the cause, bringing their powerful reach and voices to erasing mental health stigmas.
Why You Should Speak Up
You don’t have to be like a celebrity and speak publicly about your condition. But if you are facing addiction, mental illness, or both, it’s vital that you speak to someone you are close to in an attempt to find support. Choose someone you know you can trust and who is unlikely to judge you or believe in stigmas. They may be someone who has fought addiction before or someone who has helped loved ones through addiction. They can be a friend or a family member, as long as you trust them.
If you don’t feel you have someone like that in your life, you can always use social media to reach out to others, even anonymously. You can find many people who experience mental health conditions, as well as mental health advocates, by following and using the hashtags #MindOurFuture and #StrongerThanStigma on Twitter, Faceook, and Instagram.
Even finding support online from strangers is important to your health. A sense of community and belonging can help you take important steps, such as talking to a doctor about your health or even admitting yourself to a rehab facility. Connecting to others online will help you break through stigmas you may hold and learn about actionable steps you can take to improve your life.
Your rehab facility can also help you begin to fight stigmas that you or your loved ones may hold through individual and family therapy. These talk therapies can help you change the way you think about addiction and mental health and take on healthier attitudes about yourself and your worth. A changed attitude, along with continued support, is vital for achieving long-term sobriety the way Eminem has.
Even after residential treatment is over, your community is vital to maintain your sobriety and health. Studies show that having sober friends is a key element to avoiding relapse. Your online community as well as support groups in your real-life community can both play a role in helping you overcome challenges and maintain abstinence. These groups connect you with other sober individuals who have faced the same challenges, the same temptations, and the same setbacks in addiction recovery.
If you begin to feel comfortable and confident, you should also consider speaking out against stigmas in a more public way. You can start with speaking out in community supports groups or in other places you feel safe, such as at your church. You can even start with your family and friends, helping correct their beliefs about mental health and addiction. Every voice raised against stigma helps others find the support they need for a healthy life and creates a community that is more welcoming and supportive.
Whether you choose to be vocal about your mental health issues or not, Harmony Place can help you achieve sobriety. We provide comprehensive support, including multiple types of therapy and complementary treatments like yoga, to help you find peace and improve your self-esteem. We also offer long-term support through alumni groups where you can learn to find your voice and your network of supporters.
At Harmony Place in Woodland Hills, California, we provide a relaxing, comfortable environment for addiction treatment and recovery with many addiction treatment program options. Contact us today at 1-(888)-789-4330 to learn more about our services and how you or your loved one can prepare for a successful rehabilitation from drug and alcohol addiction at our California treatment center to maintain sobriety.