Keeping Families Safe: Breaking the mental health stigma

Photo: MGN

(WKEF/WRGT) -- One in five adults in the U.S. suffers from a mental illness in a given year. But too many still hesitate to get treatment. We live in a world where going to a therapist often feels more shameful than going to see your dentist or gynecologist. But efforts are fervently underway to de-stigmatize mental health, including the royals.

Mental illness crosses all age and socio-economic boundaries, it even affects those who seem to have it all, like Prince Harry, “I can safely say that losing my mum at 12 and therefore shutting down all my emotions for the last 20 years has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well." Prince Harry says he sought professional help just a few years ago.

"Mental health is just as important as physical health"

That's why the prince along with the duke and duchess of

Cambridge have started the campaign, "Heads Together" to help destigmatize mental health. Outpatient manager for Beckett Springs Changes Sarena Weikart says there’s a stigma due to lack of knowledge and says mental illness is a health condition. “We don’t judge a person with type one diabetes, we want them to get treatment. We want them to engage in lifestyle changes so they can manage their disorder”.

Weikart says having the young royals shine a light on mental health can only help. “So anytime it can be introduced and talked about we are helping to reduce stigma right there.” At Beckett Springs Changes they offer individual, group and family therapy.

“In here we will teach them skills process group therapy, help people identify their emotions, how to effectively manage their emotions”.

Another misconception, is that most people who suffer from mental illness are lazy, deranged, weak, or whining for attention. Weikart add, “The people that I work with are just like you or me. They hold down jobs, they are successful, they are compassionate they are wonderful.”

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