Research shows that the most effective way to combat stigma is through education and contact, making intergenerational relationships a strong tool for fighting ageism and behavioral health stigma. Plus, there are a number of mental and physical health benefits.
Celebrity endorsements help bring the stigma conversation to the table, but do they really impact the “nearly one in five U.S. adults” who live with mental illness and addiction every day?
Schools play a powerful role in fighting distorted perceptions around mental health and addiction! The Child Mind Institute reports that school based anti-stigma programs not only improve mental health attitudes by 68%, but that these positive attitudes actually increase treatment-seeking behavior in adolescents.
“With one in 10 children between the ages of five and 16 dealing with diagnosable mental health issues, it’s not enough to simply educate teachers. Students also need to be empowered on the issues and take the lead in helping build a safe and open environment for discussion of mental health in schools.”
Mental health advocate Chris Brownson discusses mental health stigma and believes that “We have the opportunity to change the culture of stigma in mental illness by educating, creating awareness among teachers, empowering school counselors, and being role models for our students.”
“While not all mental health problems directly affect students’ academic or school functioning, many do, and schools can help.”
“A final piece of the puzzle is the need to overcome the societal stigma of addiction. ‘If you talk to kids in recovery, they will tell you the first time they felt… not necessarily singled out for having a substance use disorder is when they arrived at a recovery school.’”
Resources to Recover talks about the importance of “being patient and learning to communicate the challenges the family member is facing,” providing children with the tools and support to cope with the experiences, and monitoring their well-being throughout the process.
Parents express a range of concerns about sharing mental health information.
Children of Parents with a Mental Illness is challenging the internal and external Distorted Perceptions that kids encounter when they have a parent experiencing a behavioral health disorder. A great resource for children and young people!