Friday, November 16, 2012

Getting Down to Smashness

I am sorry I have not posted new content on Stigma Smash for some time. I have been busy with other projects, but no more excuses! It's time to get down to smashing some stigma once again!

I have said from the word "go" that this is meant to be a highly collaborative effort. I am no mental health stigma expert (that's a mouthful!). I am a great researcher and I like to think I am a decent writer, but becoming an expert on mental health stigma is NOT my intent at all. We all have some experience with it. Whether you have a mental illness or not, your life has probably been touched by it and awareness of this stigma must exist (I recall being aware of this stigma long before my life was impacted by anxiety and panic disorder). By combining our experiences, thoughts, opinions, and voices, we can together make a difference that no one person could on their own.

That said, the success or failure of Stigma Smash depends greatly on user involvement. Without interaction, it will die. I have faith that Stigma Smash will continue on. I have grand plans for this project and intend on making an epic revival, but I must have your help! This campaign is all about awareness.

I don't ask for contributions in any sort of financial form. Stigma Smash is meant to be an awareness campaign. I just ask for a few minutes of your time to support this cause. Share this blog on social media sites. Comment or even better yet subscribe to this blog.

You can follow the Smash on twitter at: @StigmaSmash
Or give us a like on Facebook at: Stigma Smash
Also I ask that you please check out my other blog: Misdirected Anxiety also on Tumblr and Facebook. Here I talk about different topics related to anxiety and panic disorders and general positive thinking techniques that can be applied to many challenges in life.

Now, that said, it's time to get down to Stigma Smash business! I have received some great response to this campaign from the start, but I want to take it further. The intent of this post is to get people to interact and get involved. I would like to see as many people as possible share the stigmas that they have encountered or that they perceive and how it has affected them or someone else.

So, the question is "What does mental health stigma mean to you? And what impact has it had on your life or that of those around you?"

I am so motivated to see this take off that I will go ahead and say that if we can get 100 replies on this topic, I will send a $20 gift card to whoever gives the 100th reply!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Stigma Smash Now on Facebook!

I am very proud of the warm reception that @StigmaSmash has gotten on Twitter! Thank you to all of our followers!

Stigma Smash is now on Facebook! We would love if you would mosey on over there and give us a "like". Thanks you again to all of our loyal supporters! Keep on keeping your heads up and SMASHing stigma wherever you find it!

Share and SMASH!

One of the key ways to SMASH social stigma is to spread awareness. Lack of understanding of mental health issues is a driving force behind stigmas in mental health. People stigmatize things they don't understand.

One of the major missions behind Stigma Smash is to spread this awareness by creating a community of people dedicated to the cause of eradicating social stigmas and replacing them with more positive images. Stigma Smash is designed to be a collaborative effort and as such relies heavily on YOU! 

Today I encourage you to do your part and fight social stigmas in all forms by using this template:

I have..(mental illness).. but it is NOT who I am! I am...(who are you?). #stigmasmash

Please post this honest and personal testimonial on social media outlets that you use to show the world that people with mental health issues are regular people. It is my goal to see this trending in as many places as possible! If you are not comfortable yet posting publicly, please feel free to post your testimonial here on Stigma Smashers! Thank you and best wishes! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hey Guy! What Are Stigmas & Why Do You Want to Smash Them?

What is social stigma?

Social stigma is the extreme disapproval of, or discontent with, a person on the grounds of characteristics that distinguish them from other members of a society. Stigma may attach to a person, who differs from social or cultural norms. Erving Goffman defined stigma as 'the process by which the reaction of others spoils normal identity'.

 For a more in depth definition see here. Here we are talking, in particular, about the social stigmas associated with mental illness. People in our society may label someone as crazy upon noticing certain behaviors, or it may even be much more subtle than that. Often people will simply be quietly regarded and treated differently if it's known that they suffer from depression or some other form of mental illness. These stigmas are unfair and do a lot to hold back progress for these people.

Due to this cultural atmosphere of stigma and bias, people suffering from mental illnesses will often refrain from talking about it. Family, friends, co-workers, or teachers may be completely unaware of the struggles going on inside a person. They often suffer in silence for fear of what people will think of them if they come out and talk about it. This is very tragic. Without talking about what is going on, they will never be able to get the help that they need. Destructive behavior up to and including suicide can result from this quiet lonely struggle.

Talking about mental illness can help greatly! It has worked wonders for me, and was certainly at least the first step toward recovery. I encourage anyone who is suffering inside to reach out and talk with someone. People will be much more understanding than you think! If you don't have someone in your life who you feel comfortable talking with, try someone with your school or local church, or come to Stigma Smash for support. I'm sure you'll find an open ear within our community!

 Stigma Smash is meant to be an open, collaborative community for discussing mental illness and mental health in order to SMASH the stigmas surrounding them. It is my goal to promote openness and  pride in who we are. The first step to eliminating stigma is for us to not be ashamed or embarrassed. People don't tend to stigmatize things which you are proud of. Mental illness is not who we are, but it is part of us, and we are becoming stronger people as a result of the struggles we go through!

 I encourage you to join my team of Stigma Smashers and tack #stigmasmashers on your social media profiles to show your support! 

Welcome to Stigma Smash

I have created Stigma Smash in order to promote open discussion of mental health and mental illness. The stigmas associated with mental illness stop a lot of people from talking about their issues. Talking about what is going on inside you is a crucial first step to recovery. Promoting an open dialogue and a welcoming environment for dialogue can go a long way to help people to understand mental health issues that can be very confusing and scary. I want to smash the stigmas that are keeping people from seeking the help that they need!

More content is on it's way, but in the meantime please show your support by following @StigmaSmash on twitter and using hashtag #stigmasmash to spread the word on breaking down mental health stigmas!