Tha Afterparty Exclusive: Empowerment Through Mental Health Diagnosis
Written by Tamara M. on 20 September 2018
Many times, a person dealing with mental health issues can feel isolated and as if they are the only person experiencing what they are going through since the topic is so hush-hush and ignored. Though we continually see the updated research and latest breakthroughs, hear the stories and may have even experienced it ourselves or watched a loved one struggle, mental health is still one of the last types of disease that are so misunderstood that people are shamed for something beyond their control. Due to this misunderstanding, negative perception and stereotypes and downright fear of what it means to be mentally ill, those who are suffering will forego treatment to avoid being labeled as mentally ill.
In “A Blueprint When Feeling Blue: How A Mental Health Diagnosis Can Be Empowering,” by Ashley Santangelo on the blog, Jen Reviews, Ashley remarks how she initially thought of mental illness, “I thought of mental illness as something that was permanent, something that individuals ‘had’ and couldn’t recover from.” Since this type of thinking is common, it can cause people to ignore what’s going on with them for fear of being labeled,” “dangerous “unstable,” “crazy” and “untreatable.” However, this can exacerbate the issue and lead to worsening symptoms and worse outcomes.
Recent studies have shown that mental illness is much more prevalent than previously thought since, though the stigmatization remains, more people are willing to confront their mental health problems and seek treatment. In fact, around 40 million suffer from mental illness, as cited in “A Blueprint.” Many people still won’t seek treatment for fear of how they will view themselves, how others will react to them, how their futures will be affected and the effects of medication. According to Ashley, the not knowing can be the worst part of not seeking treatment for mental illness, “Picture struggling with a relentless sense of hopelessness, prolonged sadness, sudden episodes of panic, recurring flashbacks to a traumatic incident, or intense fear that others might be out to harm you.”
Ashley argues that actually seeking help and receiving a concrete diagnosis can be the empowering step that leads people on the right path forward. “It is inaccurate to say that you will leave your first appointment with an explanation of how to vastly improve our symptoms, but the point that I am trying to make is that once an explanation is provided, it can arm you with additional knowledge about how to manage your situation and put you in a position where you can make a choice.” Further, she goes on to say, “For me, it was empowering and validating to be reminded that I was not alone.”
While every person and every condition are different, it is critical to seek help as soon as you suspect something is wrong. As a partner of the community, Tha Afterparty Radio uniquely understands how damaging mental health can be to the black community with limited resources, a distrust of the medical profession to seek help and the negative connotation associated with mental health. That is why we are more dedicated than ever to arm our audience with the tools they need to fight to improve their health and well-being. We encourage you to learn more by reading Ashley’s article (linked above) and checking out the comprehensive and highly-respected Mental Health America or giving them a call at 1-800-969-6642.