There are countless people who never seek the treatment they need for addiction, depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders—and for one simple reason: stigma. Simply put, it is still not totally socially acceptable to talk openly about mental health struggles. Those who do deal with these issues far too often suffer in silence, and contend with feelings of shame, guilt, or isolation.

Whether you have your own mental health struggle or not, however, there are practical things you can do to fight back against stigma. Here are just a few examples.

Combatting Mental Health Stigma

Talk openly. Be willing to speak up and share your own story; if you’ve dealt with mental health issues, be open about it on Facebook and in real-life conversations.

Educate yourself—and other people. Spend some time reading up on mental health issues, and share any particularly good articles or findings. The spread of good information is key for stopping stigma.

Be mindful about your language. Don’t use mental health terms pejoratively or casually; make sure to reserve these terms for their proper clinical context.

Remember that physical and mental illnesses are equally serious. You would never make fun of someone for having cancer or diabetes, so treat those who have depression or addiction with equal respect.

Be an ambassador for recovery. When you encounter people who are struggling, remind them that treatment is available, and that it works; in fact, it can often lead to healing and even to lifelong recovery.

Let go of self-stigma. Don’t ever feel ashamed of your mental health struggles, and don’t let them keep you from living an honest and open life.

Together, we can put an end to stigma—and share a message of hope with all who struggle with mental health disorders.

Learn more by connecting with Beach City Detox on Facebook.