stig·ma (noun) “a mark of stain or discredit"
are often still viewed as “dangerous”, “bad”, or just “different”. These attitudes lead to a myriad of problems for individuals with mental disorders (diagnosed or undiagnosed), including:
-decreased likelihood of seeking help
-rejection by friends, family, community
-the list goes on…
At Bethel Haven, we seek to destigmatize mental illness in our community by providing a safe space for clients to share their struggles and work toward wellness. We believe that there is no shame in struggling with your mental health, and we want our clients (and community!) to know that they are not alone in their struggle. The media often portrays mental illness as something uncommon, scary, and shameful, however this could not be further from the truth! Statistics and research tell us that almost half of the population in the U.S. will experience a mental illness at some point in life. Think about it--one out of every two people that you know has, had, or will have a mental health disorder in his or her lifetime. If this is true, then mental illness is much more common and relatable than we are led to believe.
"At Bethel Haven, we seek to destigmatize mental illness in our community by providing a safe space for clients to share their struggles and work toward wellness."
As a Christian counselor, I believe that the enemy of your soul wants to convince you that you are alone in your suffering. He wants to instill in you that no one else struggles in the same way you do, and that there’s something uniquely “wrong” with you. In the area of mental illness, I think this can be especially true. The enemy wants you to sink your teeth into the lie that you have to face mental health issues on your own. He wants you to believe that you must remain in the darkness of isolation. However, when you bring your fears, your shame, and yes, even your mental illness into the light of safe community and welcomed vulnerability, you will begin to walk in freedom. What is hidden has power, so bringing your struggle into the light destroys the hold of shame--including the shame that results from stigma.
As a therapist, I find it immensely fulfilling when clients reject the shame they once felt regarding their diagnoses and begin to advocate for themselves and others with mental illness. Have you been hiding your mental illness? Do you find yourself afraid to open up to anyone about your diagnosis? Perhaps, you have opened up before, and been met with disdain, disbelief, and discrimination. If this is the case, my heart hurts for you. I am so sorry that stigma has harmed you. Please know…
There is no real shame in your diagnosis.
You are not alone.
You are valuable and loved.
You are worthy of care.
If you feel ready to seek counseling at this time, give us a call to see if one of our counselors is a good fit for you! We are currently offering counseling services via TeleMental Health during the COVID-19 crisis to ensure the health and safety of our staff and clients.
Written by our counselors to help promote your help, hope, healing