Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Even when help is just a click away, stigma is still a roadblock

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "Stigma is a major barrier preventing people with mental health issues from getting the help they need. Even in a private and anonymous setting online, someone with greater self-stigma is less likely to take that first step to get information about mental health concerns and counseling, according to a new Iowa State University study. Daniel Lannin, lead author, psychology graduate student and clinical intern at ISU's Student Counseling Service, says self-stigma is a powerful obstacle to overcome. The study was designed specifically to measure how participants responded when given the opportunity to learn more online about mental health concerns and university counseling services. Of the 370 college students who participated in the study, only 8.7 percent clicked the link for mental health information and 9 percent sought counseling information. However, those numbers dropped to 2.2 percent and 3.5 percent respectively, among people with high self-stigma. 'It's not just the fear of seeing a counselor or therapist,' Lannin said. 'It's actually when people are sitting at home or on their phone. That stigma prevents them from even learning more information about depression or about counseling.'"Wow this has not been in the news for awhile now.  I've done a lot of posts about stigma.  It happened to me when I was first diagnosed and told people I had a mental illness.  It just does not come up for me because I have not had to tell anyone that I have a mental illness.
The article goes on to say:  "The results, published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, illustrate the need for better stigma interventions, he said. Lannin is developing and testing different online interventions, but it's difficult because such efforts are often rejected. 'A lot of people with higher levels of stigma won't even entertain the possibility of a stigma intervention because they see the intervention as going to therapy to be more open to therapy,' Lannin said. 'It's like telling someone who doesn't like vegetables to eat some broccoli to get over it.' Lannin knows that interventions work. In a previous study, he found participants were more open to receiving help-seeking information after writing a brief essay about a personal value. He says the challenge is designing the intervention so it's not threatening to a person with greater stigma.
College is a time when mental illness is often diagnosed
One in five people struggle with mental illness, and many don't get help, Lannin said. Those who do wait an average of 11 years, before finally seeking treatment. Lannin says distressed students in the study were more likely to click the link for information (8.5 percent probability for those with high self-stigma, compared to 17.1 percent for those with low self-stigma). Distress is like the gas pedal and stigma the brake, he said. Unfortunately, by the time someone reaches a high level of distress, he or she is often struggling to function.'" The reason I do not tell anyone because it can exclude me from housing as it has it the past when I told the landlord I had  a mental illness. It happens with this blog if I were to make it public as I have done in the past they will not click on it.
The article ends: "'Identifying distressed students can be difficult because distress affects people in different ways. The main thing we notice is impairment in functioning across multiple spheres. They struggle with school work or with family relationships and friendships. If it gets bad enough, they might struggle with hygiene or start strongly contemplating suicide,' Lannin said. 'It's not just that they feel bad; it's that functionally they're impaired.' According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, three-quarters of all chronic mental illness begins by age 24. Lannin says for many young adults this is a time of transition -- going to college, working full-time and moving away from home -- adding to the reasons they may not seek help. This is another consideration when designing interventions and educational information, Lannin said. In the paper, Lannin and his colleagues suggested adding brief self-affirmation activities to websites frequented by at-risk populations, as well as links to additional mental health and treatment information. Self-affirmation interventions could also be incorporated into outreach events organized by university counseling centers.'" Suicide and mental illness a person does not understand what is happening to them and they feel suicide is the only way to stop what is happening.  I wrote about suicide in an earlier post.  I think the guilt of when a person commits suicide is the hardest thing because you realize if I had only said this or done this maybe that would have helped. Life is hard enough if without the guilt.  The latest suicide was my ex-wife on my moms birthday May sixteenth of last year.  It is hard to understand.

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