Overcoming your own prejudices
How do I overcome my own prejudices?
Stigma is a set of negative beliefs and prejudices about a group of people. Stigma accompanies all forms of mental illness and casts discredit upon the person affected by it, resulting in a significant decrease in their self-esteem. Many effects may also be felt by those around them, including feelings of incompetence, stress and isolation.
The first thing to do is to recognize that we have prejudices that we may not even be aware of.
It is very important to examine your fears, as some of them may be unjustified. Many forms of prejudice can lead you to think that you are responsible for your loved one’s mental illness, that they will never be able to work again, that they will never have friends, that they will be dependent upon you forever, that it is dangerous to leave them alone, etc.
To combat stigma, it is important to understand and accept that mental illness is an illness like any other, and prejudice often comes from a lack of knowledge. Reach out to the person with the illness. By gaining a better understanding of their situation, many of your beliefs and prejudices will disappear!
Letting go of your own prejudices will allow you to adjust the vision you have of your loved one. This will have a positive impact on the prejudices of those around you. It’s hard to talk about mental illness, but it is definitely worth the effort. This way, you can raise awareness among those around you and help them better understand the issues your family is facing. It is also important to have the curiosity to seek out relevant information while ensuring that the source of this information is not only credible, but also reliable, accurate and scientific.
You should know that it is not uncommon for someone who has been on a roller coaster for years to recover enough to hold down a steady job and start a family.
Albert Einstein said: “What a sad era when it is easier to smash an atom than a prejudice”. Therefore, we must tackle stigma head on and collectively raise awareness about it, in hopes that the 21st century will go down in history!