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Dealing with Stigma

Laura A. Barton
Two things are going to become clear in this blog post: my taste in music and that there are songs that remind us that it's okay not to be okay. Realistically, "It's okay not to be okay" is probably a statement you've heard repeatedly in the world of mental health awareness and advocacy. As potentially overused as it is, this sentiment is an important one when combatting mental health stigma.
Laura A. Barton
I feel as though people like to think about incidents of mental health stigma as little pockets in time, but really, they live beyond the moments they happen. These are not compartmentalized or filed away. We know stigma can have negative impacts on a person, but understanding the depth of those impacts starts with understanding how long that moment of stigma can exist for a person.
Laura A. Barton
Britney Spears' conservatorship has been a hot topic since she was able to say her piece in court on June 23. It's caused fans to rally behind her, supporting her as she struggles with being under other peoples' control for more than a decade and the impact that's had on her mental wellbeing. Perhaps ironically, it was a mental health crisis that kicked off the conservatorship, to begin with. I can't help but wonder, what has been mental health stigma's role in keeping that conservatorship in place?
Laura A. Barton
Recent events in tennis have highlighted mental health stigma in sports and mental health struggles in sports in general. I'll be honest; I don't follow sports—neither the actual games/matches/events nor the athletes—but the controversy with tennis player Naomi Osaka bowing out of the French Open due to backlash over her mental health self-care decision caught my attention.
Laura A. Barton
As someone with skin picking disorder, summer was always a time of dread. It was as if the warm weather grew stigma the same way it could grow plants. Guidance during those days of my life would have been great for handling fear and shame, and a short summer guide to surviving skin picking disorder stigma is exactly what I'd like to offer now.
Laura A. Barton
It's always nice to see folks speaking up in the name of mental health awareness. Continuing the conversation about mental health and mental illness is one of the key things we can do when combatting mental health stigma, but it's important to communicate in these situations effectively. I'd like to use what happened with Demi Lovato and a small frozen yogurt business as a starting point and example for this conversation.
Laura A. Barton
It's perhaps an odd thing to say, but it's okay to get mad about mental health stigma. The reason I wanted to broach this discussion at all is because I know many, myself included, often talk about being calm and collected when it comes to stigma. After something that happened recently, I wanted to say it's also okay to be made when stigma for mental health is perpetuated.
Laura A. Barton
As open as I am about my depression, I'm not completely open about it. I'll talk about having depression and how dark it can get, which is done both in an effort of catharsis and to show others who may be going through the same thing that they're not as alone as depression can make us feel. It's also an important part of taking on mental health stigma, which is something I strive for whenever I can. Ironically, mental health stigma can be a part of what keeps me from being completely open about my depression.
Laura A. Barton
A "Forbes" article from 2019 cites that 80 percent of New Year's Resolutions fail, sharing a number of reasons why that happens.[1] When it comes to your mental health goals, can stigma be one of the things derailing your resolutions? We're nearing the end of this first month into the new year, and I know many people will be evaluating how they're doing with their resolutions, so I wanted to take a look at this topic.
Laura A. Barton
Coping with unintentional mental health stigma is an important skill to have. The reason for that is even people with the best intentions can stigmatize mental health with their words or actions. Although they might now mean any harm, there's still the potential for harm, and having the tools to cope with those situations is useful.