Men Speaking Out Against Mental Stigma
What do you know about mental stigma? Do you have any who has been diagnosed with the illnesses? Did you know most people who have a mental illness are usually discriminated against?
Sometime ago, my friend asked me to check out Strength-In-Unity.ca. At the time, she was in the Bachelor of Social Work program and was studying mental health stigma.
A part of the course is to help create awareness and reduce the stigmas related to mental health illness. Stigma’s many of many not even know that we have or associate with.
Cultures all around the world have different stigmas associated with mental health or illness.
The aim of the social work program is to create awareness. It is how we behave around those with mental health challenges that create our stigma’s.
How we plan to educate different cultures in our society is important.
The focus of her course was about educating of men and boys of the Asian community. One of the largest population communities around the world.
If we are going to stop mental stigma before they begin, we need to start teaching men to understand what it is and how not to pass the association to the younger generation.
What Is a Stigma
Before you continue reading, it comes to my attention that some of us may not be familiar with the definition of what a Stigma is.
A stigma is a stereotype that people have about other people. It’s a belief that somebody is not “normal”.
A stigma develops in society when we do not understand or may not have experience with a certain group of individuals.
The individuals can range from people who are homeless, have addictions, suffer from depression, have a bipolar disorder or perhaps are older in age.
Due to this lack of understanding, member of community, discrimination against other people with certain undiagnosed or untreated mental illnesses.
This happens because there is not enough talk between people within the community about they are experiencing or need help with.
No matter the country or culture, what we hear on the news or through daily conversation, we find that stigmas against people continue to exist. These stigma’s around mental health will continue to exist unless we do our part to educate people within our own communities about it.
Who Is Strength in Unity
Strength in Unity works to reduce stigmas of mental illness in three Canadian cities, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. These three metropolitan cities have large populations of from the Asian communities.
Strength in Unity understands the importance of staying connected to all members of the Asian communities. One of their strategies is to work side by side with individuals in the community. Education to eliminate the stigma is important.
The Strength in Unity team, works with the community it serves to help bring awareness to its members. The main goal is to help people change the way they look at those with a mental illness.
If we can start looking at mental health stigma’s differently then we begin to understand disabilities and how we can help those who are struggling.
Bring About Awareness
There are plenty of ways to educate a community. Strength in Unity has decided to use two effective methods to educate the people within the Asian community.
First, they educate the boys and men by using to different methods. One Acceptance Commitment Training (ACT) and the second, Contact-based Empowerment Education (CEE).
Once the boys and men are educated, ready and willing to go into their communities, they become ambassadors to teach others about mental health stigmas.
Their goal is to teach others to overcome the stigmas associated with mental illness thus helping bring people in the community closer.
Strength in Unity believes that community partnerships are one of the most effective ways to reduce how many people in a community pass mental stigmas to the next generation.
Currently the Movember campaign which takes place every November, funds their cause. What is Movember? This is when men grow a mustache to show their support and collect monies for the continued research into finding a cure for prostate cancer.
Other major companies, like Bell Canada, have started campaigns to get people talking about mental illness.
Now that you have an understanding who Strength in Unity and other agencies like them are, it is important to talk about what they are doing and who they have partnered up with. We must take time to understand why we need to decrease the stigma around mental health. The reduction of the stigma around mental disorders will give all of humanity a chance to succeed.
Why Stop the Stigma?
The reduction of this stigma is critical for people who suffer with disabilities. It has been shown through various studies that early involvement by parents, teachers and community members, teach boys and men, how they play a major role in the reduction against mental stigmas within their communities.
Did you know Asian immigrants are one of the fastest growing segments Canada?
As population growth in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver continues to grow, the Filipino, Indian, and Chinese communities make up close to 15% of our overall population.
As Canada open the boards and allows more people to become Canadian citizens and enjoy the freedoms we have, the mental illness stigma’s people carry with them, will come to Canada. If those stigmas are not understood, then they have a chance to become a part of the communities.
Like any good program that helps new comes to a country adjust, Strength in Unity understands the need to help new Canadians create unity within their community groups. It is important to build a strong country and people who do not discriminate again others.
Our communities need more people to spread the word against mental illness and the stigmas associated with it. The goal is to reduce the numbers of abuse cases due to the stigmas. We need to help members of the communities to act against it.
I recommend finding out more about what mental health stigmas are and how you can be a part of the solution.
Our goal as a society should be to educate, empower and help create the changes needed to grow strong communities, cultures and societies today and for the future.
Although the focus of Strength in Unity is the Asian communities, they support members of other communities.
The goal is to bring awareness to mental illness. We should help bring awareness not hide from the topic.
As strong community understands that iron sharpens iron and that one community member strengthens another.
How will you go out today and help stop stigmas and discrimination in your community?
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