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The Stigma of Mental Illness

September 4, 2014

After the tragic news regarding the life of actor and comedian Robin Williams, mental illness in general and depression and substance abuse in particular, is once again front and center in the news. But even with countless tragedies, has the social stigma about mental illness diminished? Unfortunately, research indicates it has not.

At Hillcrest Family Services, our team of 30 mental health counselors, sees no evidence that the stigma has reduced in spite of more attention and more understanding regarding the disease. According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 34.1 million American sought counseling for mental health services in that year, more than any other year before that. And that’s great; in fact, in a study conducted by the American Journal of Psychiatry, it revealed that Americans were far more understanding about mental illness and more supportive about seeking medical treatment than ever before. But other studies, including one conducted by Indiana University found that even with better understanding, the social stigma had not been reduced.

The takeaway, of course, is to seek help for any mental health issues that affect you, a family member or a friend. People are seeking treatment at record levels and not allowing the stigma of mental illness to impact their treatment regiment.

If you have any questions about your mental health, please don’t wait, call Hillcrest’s Counseling Services today at 563-582-0145 or 877-437-3942.