Breaking the Stigma Around Mental Health

Stress impacts many of us to varying degrees. Sometimes we are equipped to handle the stress, but sometimes the stress is persistent and it begins to impact our lives including our physical health. Our culture leads us to believe that we should be able to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and resolve our issues entirely on our own. However, this overreliance on ourselves can lead to not receiving the help we need to feel better.

The Stigma Around Mental Health

Have you ever thought these things? Seeking therapy will mean that you are crazy, weak, dependent, or inadequate because you cannot resolve your own problems.

Going along with this narrative can be dangerous — it can prevent someone from seeking help and improving their wellbeing. In other words, stigma can lead to avoidable delays in receiving treatment. Worrying about not being able to resolve the problems can lead to more stress. People can judge themselves and feel ashamed for no reason.

Continuous stress can lead to physical problems such as high blood pressure, headaches, insomnia, a weakened immune system, and many other issues. When stress mounts and is left unattended, it can lead to problem behavior such as drinking, family tension, and even suicide. The stigma surrounding mental health and its treatment is a hazard and needs to be challenged. Check out this fact sheet for strategies to overcome internalized stigma.

Seeking Professional Help

There are various forms of professional help that you can seek such as individual talk therapy. You can choose the one that works best for you. Therapy can help you and your family manage conflict, stress, communication challenges and other difficulties. When you meet with a professional, you can expect to share your story, set goals that are meaningful to you, become aware of your strengths, understand underlying challenges, and learn skills to overcome challenges and break unhelpful habits.

Individual therapy includes meetings between an adult and a therapist. Family therapy includes meetings with a spouse, parents, children or other family members involved in the adult’s life. Group therapy includes meetings involving a group of adults with similar diagnoses and one or two therapists. Rehabilitation programs help people regain skills and confidence to live and work more successfully in their communities.

Free Therapy Opportunity

If you work in the agricultural industry or one of your immediate family members works in agriculture, you can reach out to us for six free therapy sessions! The sessions can be in person or virtual. We will help you set up your appointment, connect with the provider and access your session. Complete the intake form at go.umd.edu/farmtherapy and we will reach out to you.

This blog written by special guest blogger Alla Tafaghodi, graduate Family & Consumer Sciences intern.

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