Eliminating Stigmatization in Mental Health Diagnosis

What Mental Health needs is more sunlight, more candor and more unashamed conversation. I don’t quite recall where I read those lines but they are a poignant reminder about the importance of eliminating stigma surrounding mental health. Today’s world is governed by an almost maniacal obsession with perfection and success. Its no wonder therefore that mental health is rarely discussed and any reference made on this topic is avoided like the plague. Perhaps, because no one wants to feel vulnerable and defenseless. Perhaps, its seen as a barrier towards success and someone who might readily acknowledge it would inevitably attract a steady stream of contempt and ridicule.

The fear of what others might think and perceive is perhaps the most crippling thought that can ever occur to an individual who might have been diagnosed with a mental health condition. Now they are dealing with a double onslaught and its unfortunate that many individuals around the world resort to taking their lives because they see no way out when faced with such a dilemma.

Eliminating stigma is a long-convoluted process and we shall look into some of the ways we can fight mental stigma. They are by no means exhaustive. In no particular Order.

Talk Unreservedly about Mental Health– One of the most popular methods is posting about it on popular social media Channels like Facebook or LinkedIn. Be Vocal and unapologetic. If it helps just one person, it is worth it. Millions of individuals browse these channels every single day and your words can be precisely what an individual needs to hear. Those words can literally alter the trajectory of their life. For the better.

Practice Inclusion, Intentionally– If someone at your workplace has battled mental illness, be intentional about including them in group events and give them the room to take on leadership positions. A mental health issue is not a life sentence and individuals must be given the opportunity to rebuild their lives.

Practice Empathy– Most individuals might have the tendency to look down upon someone who might be struggling with family conflict and who might be trying their best to look “Put Together”. Snide remarks, open contempt and aggression, deliberate intent to belittle someone on the basis of race or language are all forms of abuse and they can sometimes be the tipping point for someone who was already on the edge. Practice kindness. It costs nothing.

Acknowledge the Problem– Sometimes the road to recovery lies in the Acknowledgement. Acknowledging that there is a problem that needs a diagnosis and subsequent treatment is not cowardice. This Statement by Russell Wilson is sheer gold, “If we start being honest about our pain, our anger and our shortcomings instead of pretending they don’t exist, then maybe we will leave the World a better place than we found it.”

Be Unafraid to Share your StoryIf you or someone you know has successfully crossed this journey, then by all means, Share your story. Your scars could well become someone else’s survival Guide. Some of the most comforting words in the Universe are “me too”. That moment when you find out that your struggle is also someone else’s struggle, then you are not alone, and that others have been down the same road.

A Diagnosis doesn’t determine the OutcomeMillions of individuals have successfully battled mental illness and emerged stronger. It is natural to give in to self-pity and play the part of a martyr. Instead choosing to take ownership in the recovery process is not only the wisest thing to do, it can also serve as a reminder that beauty does emerge out of ashes sometimes. Don’t let your struggle become your identity.

Seek Help– No one ought to go through difficult terrain alone. Life is hard as it is. Adding a mental health problem to the picture can pose an almost seemingly insurmountable problem. Ask for support and help as often as is required. Seeking help doesn’t imply that an individual is incompetent. It simply means that they are smart enough to know when to stop doing it all by themselves.

Self care is how you take your Power Back– Self care is not a Luxury. Its an absolute necessity. Take time to recharge and rejuvenate. The World can wait. For anyone who has conquered a dark phase or might be going through one now, this one’s for you. “One small crack doesn’t mean that you are broken, it means that you were put to the test and you didn’t fall apart.


Sajid Ahamed is a “Certified Trainer of NLP” and organizes John Grinder approved New Code NLP and NLP Master Practitioner Certifications  Courses in India and the Middle East. He has more than 1000 hours of coaching experience and is an ICF accredited Professional Certified Coach (PCC). Apart from the Trainings, he covers a  wide niche of coaching including Relationship Coaching, Parenting Coaching, Leadership Coaching.

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