I have gone over the issue of stigma a couple of times already, in fact, there is a whole section of my blog dedicated to it; that’s how big of an issue stigma really is. I’ve also wrote an article about the mental health community itself, and how wonderful of a place it can be. It truly does pain me to be in the position in which I have to write this article as it is simply the truth, which I have witnessed for myself. Not only does stigma hinder ones journey to recovery, it causes a great deal of harm which can lead to individuals committing suicide or harming themselves further. In no way is stigma beneficial to anyone on this planet, and those who do stigmatise others should be very ashamed of themselves. This is an issue that many of us within the mental health community are fighting, but there are also those within the mental health community who add to that stigma.
What brings me to this topic is the fact that although I have not experienced stigma within the mental health community myself, I have recently witnessed it happen amongst others within the mental health community. Not only has there been one incident with stigma within the mental health community that I have witnessed, unfortunately, there have been multiple incidents where this type of behaviour has occurred.
The area in which I’ve seen stigma occur within the mental health community, is typically between those whose illnesses do not cause them to experience psychosis, and those that do. It is important to remember that all forms of mental illness can and will be stigmatised against, whether it is right or wrong; however, those with a mental illness that do not experience psychosis have no right whatsoever in contributing to the stigma surrounding psychotic illnesses. I have one question for those who are suffering from a non-psychotic illness and are stigmatizing others, what makes your illness any better than theirs?
Both of the incidents that occurred in which non-psychotics were stigmatizing those who do experience psychosis, actually took place in a mental health hospital. Yes, these people had also been hospitalized for whatever reason, yet they were still bullying and stigmatizing those who experience psychosis whilst they are in recovery. The last place in which stigma should occur is within a hospital that is dedicated to mental health.
Thankfully, during both of these incidents there were other patients around which stepped in to not only diffuse the situation, but also to educate those who were bullying and stigmatizing others.
If you as a person within the mental health community have experienced stigma, if you have experienced the pain and suffering caused by stigma, why on Earth would you be willing to put someone through that? Not only is this a stigma issue, but it is also an issue of bullying; and bullying is a disgusting act in which no one benefits from, therefore this needs to stop.
I have never experienced stigma directly, especially not within this community; I do love this community and I can never be thankful enough for all that it has done for me, but I do know that stigmatizing and bullying others is going on with this community, and it needs to change. I am currently working with people who are struggling with this issue, and I am also working to fight against it. However, this won’t change unless we change and stop turning the other cheek. We should be educating and supporting each other, because if we can’t treat each other well within this community, then why should anyone else?