Being gay was once considered a disgrace. In some sad corners of society, it still is. But thankfully, most of us are far more accepting of people’s sexuality than we once were.
How did this happen? Did straight people start studying other forms of sexual orientation? Of course not. We’re too busy living our own lives.
Part of the reason things changed is because brave gay people spoke out, created movements and paraded in the streets. In the process, they educated the rest of us. It was the people who were being stigmatised, that made the effort to change things.
And yet when it comes to poor mental health, I think many of us expect society and employers to do all the work. And that’s unrealistic. It’s not because mentally healthy people don’t give a toss about people with poor mental health that stigma exists.
It’s because too many of us who suffer do not speak out – or we speak too softly. And if we’re not prepared to teach, how will others learn? THAT SAID, this is not a rallying cry to throw caution to the wind. If you are uncertain as to how your ‘news’ may be accepted, by all means remain tight-lipped. But whenever you feel comfortable and secure, speak up.
You just might be a great teacher.
It’s back to the States we go for some good tips on beating stigma from the hugely respected Mayo Clinic:
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