Overcoming Trauma and the Stigma Against Mental Health

Americans have developed an unhealthy obsession with the myths popularized by Horatio Alger. Far too many mistake perseverance with stubbornness, and warp independence into harmful total self-reliance. The notion of overcoming adversity without aid is appealing, but it can yield disastrous results. That’s especially true for emotional and psychological traumas, which have a tendency to persist and can very easily undermine someone’s entire life if left untreated.

Social stigma often prevents people from seeking the help they need. Graham Davey, Ph.D., wrote extensively about mental health stigmas and its impact on seeking appropriate treatment in Psychology Today. The widespread stigma is attributed to a variety of contributing factors, such as mass media, entertainment, and ignorance, making it that much more complex to resolve. But according to Graham, the effort is worthwhile because beyond affecting your quality of life, the stigma also negatively affects treatment outcomes. So it’s doubly important to address stigma as quickly as possible.

Fortunately, Graham isn’t the only one who recognized the dilemma. The Washington Post highlighted seven facts about the barriers found in America’s mental healthcare system. A striking fact is that only 5.6 percent of all US healthcare costs are dedicated to mental health treatment. It’s even more frustrating to learn that access to mental healthcare remains much lower than other types of medical services and that adequate treatment is cost-prohibitive for some 45 percent of those desperately in need of it. Stigma was emphasized as a major barrier to seeking help, with survey respondents agreeing with the statement, “I want to solve the problem on my own.” Given these financial factors and personal attitudes ,addressing psychological and emotional trauma is daunting.

While the circumstances described certainly sound dire, there are still plenty of reasons to remain optimistic. Since there’s no shortage of people who’ve been forced to cope with considerable trauma, there’s also no shortage of proven guidance. For instance, there are the seven steps to recover from trauma. People can expect to proceed through three distinct emotional stages, which include trauma (denial), loss (depression), and recovery (resolution). Successfully navigating each stage demands that people cultivate different types of self-awareness. Admittedly, when dealing with trauma, it is exceedingly challenging to implement such strategies alone.

That’s why it’s so crucial to tap into the external resources that are available. The pervasiveness of social stigma is undeniable, but the ramifications of inadequate treatment are too grave to ignore. People living near urban centers usually have access to extensive support systems. Simply searching for therapists near me can produce viable places to start.

For anyone new to the process, remember that it’s not easy to find formal treatment and you may have to shop around for the right therapist. The trick is staying persistent and to not allow stigmas surrounding mental healthcare to dissuade from seeking much needed and effective help.