Overcoming Social Isolation Caused by Mental Health Stigma
Social isolation caused by mental health stigma can be debilitating. Many people are aware of social anxiety disorder, but social isolation is a form of anxiety where a mental health patient is not in a care facility but their own home and has a hard time facing the many forms of mental health stigma in society (Mental Illness, Isolation, and Loneliness).
This is a serious problem because isolated mental health consumers can fall off the treatment map or go into a cycle of being in and out of the hospital their entire lives. Some of these mental health stigma myths, such as the myth that people with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia are violent or the myth that mental illnesses can be transmitted, contribute to social isolation causes as well.
Let's Talk About Social Isolation and Mental Health Stigma
Causes of My Social Isolation: Self-Stigma
When I was younger and newly diagnosed with bipolar disorder, mental health stigma kept me from returning to school and pursuing my dream of becoming a journalist. Though I had the skills to attend school, a drug I was on made my hands shake and I worried people could tell I took psychiatric medications and would look down on me. I put off registering for school until it was too late and spent the next years in a state of social isolation.
Mental Health Stigma From Loved Ones and Employers Further Isolated Me
The few times I left my apartment was for groceries or to visit with family members, and the social isolation I experienced caused me to be nervous and withdrawn. Stigma from old friends and possible employers would have ruined my life if I hadn't been determined to become a writer whether I went to a school where mental health stigma would affect me or not.
It hurt when people judged me; it hurt when I missed out on job opportunities due to mental health stigma. There were even times I made the unhealthy choice of trying to treat my social anxiety by consuming alcohol, something a person on medications should never do (Self-Medication of a Mental Health Problem). Mental health stigma held me back, but I stayed firm in my goals and over years my social isolation decreased, and I was even able to take a job as a volunteer educator in the mental health field.
Social Isolation and Mental Health Stigma Can Be Overcome
What causes your social isolation? Do you worry a lot about what others think, are you afraid to meet new people or take social risks? There are many treatment options. I found a haven from stigma when I moved into a group home for people with mental illnesses. Everyone in the home was either dealing with a mental health issue or trained to help me through my problems.
I no longer had to live with my guard up; I had friends and people to talk to about how I felt. As time passed and I became more a member of my community, I was more able to deal with mental illness stigma. Life skills classes and frequent talks with a mental health worker helped even more. I still faced problems at work but I was lucky enough to belong to a union that protected my rights and understood that at times I would need a long sabbatical, a "mental health month" as it were.
It all comes down to trying to move forward in your recovery from social isolation caused by mental health stigma a little each day, and remembering that real friends and family members you can lean on will never judge you.
Gregersen, L. (2016, September 25). Overcoming Social Isolation Caused by Mental Health Stigma, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, August 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivingmentalhealthstigma/2016/09/overcoming-social-isolation-caused-by-mental-health-stigma
Author: Leif Gregersen
I think this type of treatment is nuts.. My neighbor is isolating their mother daughter and 2 sons all in 40;s and 50's she would always be excited when they would come over and I am concerned for my self and my husband frankly my neighbor of 15 years is suddenly kooko for koko pufs. except for one incident that she did to me and I hadn't a clue she was going off her mind no one is allowed to see her but and this is the but that worries me this nut case lives next door and after what she pulled I would prefer her institutionalized than she be next door. she is devious and conniving and scares. me I am not afraid of mental illness (my husband of 65 years ) had a nervous break down. went to the VA and had treatment and came home just like new for the last time Still together and he is truly a better person. However the person I am referring to right now is around 85 and is totally unpredictable has some one to clean her home, do her laundry, for a couple of hours a day. She is truly a nut case and not predictable to what she is up to at any time. What she did was She came to my house I was waiting for my husband to get home after 1 mo. of "broken ankle surgery and I wanted to be there come hell or high water. She kept insisting on calling for a ambulance for me and I kept saying NO, NO, NO And the Bitch did it any way and I went just to get a bunch of huge men out of my very small Mobile home First thing they did was drug me and I went to sleep arrived at the hospital when I woke up I had to get home and because I truly wanted to kill this woman I walked about 4miles no shoes because I did not want the same ole song and dance I am so sorry her BS apologies fall an deaf ears and now I have to live next door or next trailer and no one is suppose to know about her mean while I want you to know I am 82 and this bitch went about her business 15 years and she does this to me and the only reason she got away was poor baby she doesn't know what she is doing. My husband never was like this and my neighbor should have to inform the neighbors before she decided to burn her or my house down on pins and needles all day all evening and most of the day I will be the mental case before she gives. up. .