I chose to focus my website on eliminating the stigma surrounding mental illness because I have been affected by it both in my own mind and seeing those close to me struggle. It saddens me to think that those who I love feel ashamed of something that they can’t control. Nobody asks for mental illness to be brought upon them, so they should be able to comfortably get help when they are struggling without facing the judgement of society. I too have felt out of place and “wrong” because of the negative attributes often associated with mental illness. Words and phrases that describe people with mental illness as “weak”, “attention-seekers”, “babies”, or “too dramatic” draw demeaning attention on those who just want to be understood and helped. I feel that all people, loved ones and strangers alike, should be able to safely step out and say that they need help with their mental health without facing harsh critics that don’t believe in the importance or reality of mental illness.
While I acknowledge the fact that curing mental illness completely doesn’t seem in reach, I do stand behind the idea that destigmatizing it will help alleviate the fears and concerns that prevent many struggling with mental illness from getting help. I know, from my own experience with mental illness, that working to form a more positive mindset when it comes to the reality of managing mental illness is a small thing that can enact change. If we all become aware of the prevalence of mental illness around us and the importance of destigmatizing it, we can help foster the fact that help is near, and that living and conquering mental illness is a happy reality for many.