Mental Health: Why the Stigma


NOUN. A mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality or person.

Why do you think stigmas exist? Is it rooted in prejudice? It is based out of fear around something? Perhaps it’s a lack of education on the subject.

So let’s dig a little deeper on the subject of stigma. Why do you think we still have a stigma lingering around mental health? When we look at mass media and how mental health is portrayed, we can look to movies and even social media highlighting the rise and fall of popular stars like Britney Spears. Often times, those snapshots fed to us are blown out of proportion or simply inaccurate, and yet they can shape our thoughts and perceptions around mental health.

If you look at mental health for what it is – a health issue related to a person’s psychological and emotional well-being, sometimes connected to a chemical imbalance, it seems odd to have a stigma associated with it. It would be safe to say that we don’t have similar stigmas tied to Type 1 Diabetes – a health issue that results from the pancreas not producing enough insulin, or a person with an irregular heart beat who needs a pacemaker to stabilize their heart rhythm.

When you look at the statistics around the prevalence of mental health, specifically in Maine, it is evident that it is a significant issue that requires our attention, support, resources and compassion.

Did you know?

  • 223,000 adults in Maine have a mental health condition – more than 11x the population of August.
  • 14,000 Mainers age 12-17 have depression; high school students with depression are more than 2x more likely to drop out than their peers.
  • 5% of adults in Maine in February of 2021, reported symptoms of anxiety or depression.
  • 8% were unable to get needed counseling or therapy.

What now?

Removing stigmas around mental health is the first step in turning around these numbers and making a positive impact in our community. By removing the shame of a mental health condition, we open the doors to conversations, resources and healing. Because this shift does not happen overnight, it’s important to continue to be vigilant in our awareness of both the need and the resources available.

Some valuable resources include:

The more we know, the better we can do, to shift perceptions, increase awareness, normalize mental health, and support and care for those in our community.

(207) 907-1000
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap