Stigma has been identified as one obstacle to getting help for anxiety. It prevents the treatment and recovery of patients with mental illness. In addition, the stigma around anxiety is why some people do not seek help from psychiatrists in Australia. Furthermore, It also has a negative impact on the morale of health care providers, including psychologists and psychiatrists. In this article, let’s learn how to overcome the anxiety stigma.
First, we will consider the literature on the main sources of stigma in medical care. Secondly, its impacts on healthcare providers. Third, evidence-based steps to overcome mental health stigma. Fourthly, some tips to help people experiencing anxiety in Australia. At last, how they can overcome barriers related to stigma in accessing healthcare.
Stigma differentiates a person from others.
According to the World Health Organisation, stigma is a sign of shame or disapproval. Stigma causes individuals to be excluded and discriminated against from different areas of society.
The stigma can exist between two or more people. It can or may be caused by perceived or actual “differences”. This includes religious beliefs, sex, gender or mental health status. In addition, based on our experience in providing mental health services in Western Australia, stigma is a common problem. So, those who classify stigma divide it into three types:
Structural: Social expectations, institutions and cultural norms will all cause stigma. As a result, the resources and opportunities for obtaining the needed help are limited.
Social: Certain thinking patterns and behavioural norms within society can stand in the way of people. It can prevent us from being open-minded. Therefore, these limitations can cause discrimination and fear of those who are different.
Self: We could lose out on benefiting from the valuable social support that might be available to us. Negative attitudes, scepticism and self-talk focused on denying symptoms can stand in the way of us getting the help we need.
About Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are common in Australia. However, only a small percentage of people with this symptom seek help from a psychologist or psychiatrist. Why do so many people remain silent when help is available? Part of the answer to this lies in the stigmatisation of mental health.
Many of us as patients find it difficult. We feel ashamed to admit that we have trouble with our mental health. As result, this stops people like us from discussing our experience in anxiety with our GPs, families, and other supports. But, we all should know overcoming embarrassment is the first step in getting help. Most GPs in Australia are experienced in helping with anxiety to overcome anxiety stigma. Therefore make an appointment to see your doctor. In addition, ask your doctor about a psychologist.
A study shows that most people believe that anxiety “indicates personal weakness.” Other common misconceptions about anxiety include:
- The belief that anxiety is not a medical illness.
- The belief that people suffering from anxiety could get out of it in an instant if they felt like it.
There are some differences between the actual level of stigma and the perceived stigma associated with anxiety in Australia. A survey found that at least two-thirds of anxious people believe that others see it as a form of weakness.
How to overcome this?
A 2009 German study found that stigma against mental health disorders greatly discourages the patient’s willingness to seek treatment. Because of this, overcoming stigma becomes an important step to beating anxiety.
A good way to do this is to combat myths with facts. Anxiety patients are often encouraged to “brace up”. Because their condition is seen as a character flaw instead of the medical condition that it is. However, this isn’t helpful overall.
Learning about anxiety may help overcome self-destructive judgement. Easily access information is available online. Visit Health to Health. It is an Australian website. Secondly, you can also find support groups for people who experience anxiety. Furthermore, online support groups may be a way for people in regional WA to join with others. Such groups can help form a sense of community with respect to their anxiety and shrug off a sense of loneliness in their battles. Finally, speak with your doctor.