Hi “You’re crazy! You lied! You’ve changed! You need some real help! We will never know the “real” you! ”
Stigma- it can alter a life even end a life.
When we hear the word stigma we often look at it as a dark cloud, no one wants it, some are afraid to be around it and some would even use it for their own gain by calling others with labels even before understanding the impact it would have on someone.
Defining stigma needs to change. How? By understanding ourselves first, getting to know our own mental health can make a greater positive impact on ourselves and others.
When you are diagnosed with any form of mental health, it is a wave of change. However it can also be a voice of reason . How? By being able to say ” I am still ME, and this is part of me, but it doesn’t Define who I really AM” a powerful phrase that can omit the negative version of Stigma and enlightened a new way of thinking.
Remember , your VOICE IS YOUR POWER TO CHANGE ANYTHING INCLUDING HOW WE DEFINE STIGMA!
We Believe In You!
Doctors are always stressing to us about the importance of coming to their office for regular check ups to ensure that we continue to be healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But get this, did you know that such reminders isn’t limited to our physical health?! Mental Health Check Ins are as important as getting our physical health checked out.
So what entails in Mental Health Check Ins at Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services?
In the 30 Minute Free Consultation, we ask you basic questions such as, how you are feeling, what worked for you during the time of your distress, anger, sadness,(just to name a few), what didn’t work for you etc, and what we can offer you at Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services.
We believe that bandaiding mental health isn’t the solution, but understanding the pain underneath the bandaid, allows hope and healing to come in.
For the past decade, social media changed on how we think, look and interpret our world. Social media has given a platform for awareness on mental health, environment, injustice, political and social views. With a click of button, our world is interpreted through many eyes, however not all are seen in a positive light. Despite some positive impact that social media has it has also increased the perception of perfection, such as how someone should look like, how someone should feel, how someone should act, how someone should interact. Social media is an interpretation platform which is often subjective from person to person. One may look at a profile picture and may see a beautiful person while another may dissect on what the profile picture should look like. Social media definitely has an impact on one’s mental health. How? Imagine this for a minute:
A young woman, decided to change her profile picture from a filtered one to unfiltered. You may think that others would accept her as she is, yet she received numerous comments, calling her “pig” “ugly” “loser” . Now imagine the young woman reading this. She just wanted to be accepted for who she is and not what others wanted her to be. The name calling continues, and this young woman felt unwell, she started to isolate herself, withdraw from friends, family, school. She stayed in her room with the blinds closed, and just stared at the words that she was called by her so called friends. The names continued and the young woman learned to accept the words she was being called. The young woman took her own life, based on what social media portrayed her as – unwanted.
The co-relation between social media and mental health is fairly new, yet we continue to see tragic stories like the young woman on a daily basis.
In 2016 Anxiety UK conducted a survey on social media use – the survey indicated about 53 percent of social media users had changed their behaviour and 51 percent of these were reported to be negative impacts on social media use. Another alarming statistics according to Enough is Enough an organization that assists in helping families have safer guidelines for internet usage, about 95 percent of teens using any social media platform have witnessed cyberbullying! 95 percent! An alarming rate!
Social media is a great place for advocacy however to outsource the positive from the negative we must understand triggers, signs when someone is feeling that social media has had an impact on their lives. So how do we help?
For every negative word, we Speak up! For every negative outburst, We Use our Voice! For every negative outcome, We share our heartbreaking story. We overturn and outsource the real, the raw about the darkness as it is the sharing our story, that changes the outcome. We can use our voice to change , however to know that when we no longer have a voice, we seek help so others can be our voice . Lending a hand, a listening ear and a compassionate heart, not only changes our view of the world but it changes how we look at ourselves!
According to World Health Organization ( WHO) one million around the world take their own lives every year. To make it even more gruelling – every 40 seconds another life is taken by suicide.
No matter if you are a friend, family member, a stranger or a mental health professional these statistics are unsettling.
I remember a time when I had a friend contemplating on taking their own life. I’m not sure what I said to them but it swayed them from not going through with their plan. Years later, we reconnected, and I asked them what made their decision to not end their life – they said ” our conversation ”
What happen if I wasn’t there at that point of time ? Would they have gone through with their plan? The magnitude feeling you have, knowing that you saved somebody by merely having a conversation is surreal.
Today, we are in the heap of technology, social media – everything appears to be online. For the past few years online therapy has become a huge phenomenon. It’s easy, it’s convenient. However there is some tweaks yet to be made on how it would be delivered, received and the risks still have yet to measured.
For some getting into the techie world is not something they are ready for, and believe conversing a face to face conversation can be beneficial.
The options are open to all.
The power of conversation can save a life – “our voice is the most powerful tool – it can help guide you to your path and it can also help another who lost their way.” (quote by Founder, Owner & Therapist Of Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services – Parul Shah-08.23. 2016)
“It’s Okay to Not Be Okay”
A topic that most of us have anxiety of – seeking professional help when we are unable to figure things out on our own.
The most common statement that is often used ” how can I open up to a stranger when I can’t even open up to my family/friends”
The word therapy is scary but also has held a lot of stigma. Therapy used to be looked down upon and only if you were defined as “crazy” that you would go seek help.
The world of therapy has changed dramatically as we break the silence on mental health. Seeking help isn’t just for significant mental health issues but it is also to help and guide when you just feel lost or needing a direction to find your passion in life.
When we click on a button on our laptop, smartphone, or pick up the phone to say “hi my name is, and I am inquiring what your counselling services offer as I need some help” can be the most powerful step that you would ever make for yourself. Seeking help and talking to someone other than family and friends are intimidating but at Embracing Empowerment counselling services, we are guided by how you are feeling through hope, compassion and empathy.
Therapy doesn’t change YOU it Empowers You ! #EmbraceHopeCompassionHealing #EmpoweringTheProcess
Call to Action means placing our conversations into physical motion. We hear ” keep the conversation going” we say ” let’s talk”, but what happens after the talk, what happens when meeting time to discuss important issues end and everyone goes home. As Therapists, we often hear, ” the conversation never stopped whether in our own heads or with someone else, we feel all this talking has made strides, but to where, when I’m still feeling anxious, depressed, anger, numb, or suicidal. Now I’ve added another thing onto my life..addiction”
As Therapists, As Policy Makers we know it takes time for physical change to happen such as easier access, faster access, implementation. According to Public Health Agency of Canada we all must make a commitment to learn , which means building a mental health resource kit, way before crisis occurs as the wrong time to prepare for CRISIS is when we’re in it. We’re all accountable, and it’s time to walk our talk, it’s time to Call to Action. SPEAK UP! REACH OUT! EDUCATE! SHARE! And IMPLEMENT!
Stigma is one of the biggest reasons why mental health is not being addressed efficiently in the workplace especially when employees feel inadequate in their job or feel they would be warned for not doing what they were told based on timeline workload. There is an overall consensus that if an employee divulges their deterioration of mental health that it would increase tension for them at work, therefore keeping quiet or increasing their sick days would omit the discussion of talking about it with their employers. According to New York Times about 25 percent of employees receive negative responses for their problems including being bullied and the reason why they aren’t being promoted by their employer. Yet, employers advertise to the public that they have compassion and empathy for their employee’s well being. A definite mix message to any employee who is struggling with their own mental health. Power and Control in the Workplace is a traditional tactic to produce sales from their employees without the burden of losses due to a number of workers off the job.
Even today when mental health is on the forefront of corporate discussions, employees still feel they cannot speak of their own mental health breakdowns. Companies have brought in more wellness and mindfulness techniques for their employees . Business wellness is an 8 billion dollar industry, yet the simplicity of just asking an employee how they are doing has become fragmented by business stocks and status. According to World Health Organization (WHO) by 2020 they estimate that depression will be the second leading cause of disability worldwide. Many companies end up failing to address the root of their employees mental health breakdown and bandaid by introducing more wellness into the company.
Empathetic and Compassionate Employers are ESSENTIAL! Your compassionate care for mental health must be treated like any physical injury at work, respond immediately, provide care immediately, and ask how it happened!
Mental Health Affects everyone not just the person who is actually suffering from it. It’s hard to examine the day when you are unsure how to support one another through the challenging life of mental health. Here are a few ways to engage and support those who are living with some form of mental illness:
1. Acknowledgment- a huge hurdle as we avoid and label .Acknowledging that mental health is a serious problem that needs to be addressed and voiced can alter and even omit stigma.
2. Understand that even though someone suffers from mental illness does not always require 24 hour care. We call it Space Support – where you acknowledge that everyone needs space but can always be there for them. A listening ear is an essential part of support.
3. Voicing that you care for someone who is dealing with mental health is the most powerful tool that can even save a life! ” You are Worthy!”
4.Understanding that those who are dealing with mental health , they don’t want to be ” fixed”, they want you to understood that they will have “bad days” just be there for them.
5. To be accepted. Accepting means opening up that mental illness does not always have physical wounds, some are invisible, and even hard to detect. So when it’s being said that they are feeling down and their brain isn’t the same, acknowledge the wounds . Compassionate acceptance is evolution of crushing Stigma.
6. Labels are labels they are not to be used to define someone. Calling someone “crazy” or using the words like “crazy, or mental breakdown” in ordinary daily language isn’t going to change how we look at mental health and the person dealing with it, we actually grow the gap even further.
7. Asking, ” how can I help you” or ” how are you” can open their darkest gate and start a conversation. It can be that simple.
8. Hugs – when words cannot be expressed, bear hugs can let any guard down, reduce stigma, stress, anxiety
9. Being accepted for who they are now is the only truest way to be free.
10. Words can be only words unless they have meaning, so when you are truly there for someone – phrases like ” I believe you” can alter and even save a life. Mental health affects all!
Bullying is a learned behavior. Bullies have one point of another have been bullied themselves. Bullies enter their own school property and pick on younger students, older students, or even their own friends. Primary anti-bullying days are all over the school, not in workplaces, or rallies, or events. The Bullied feels scared, unworthy, anxious, sad, depressed and even suicidal. The Bullied connects with others who have been bullied themselves.They either get angry and form a bully pact or A Suicide pact because they believe there is no other way out. According to Canadian Institutes of Health and Research, has the 9th highest rate of bullying and about 1 out of 3 teens reported being bullied. Another factor to add onto this, is that more bullying occurs to certain cultural and ethnic groups, therefore bullying and suicide rates increases. For instance, “In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 53 per cent of trans youth (ages 14 to 25) reported being bullied in school. (excerpt from Winnipeg Metro News-May 2017)”
So how do we change this? Can we change this? Where do we start?
All incredible questions that have one major answer, bullies cannot be stopped until the origin of how it started gets addressed. It’s called the trickle effect theory, but there are times in our lives we have to do things we may not have a choice, like paying our taxes. But we always have a choice to VOICE our thoughts, VOICE how to be respected, VOICE to be heard, VOICE to be listened to, VOICE to be accepted as we are. Our Voice can change how the trickle down theory can be demolished. So let’s go back to the school system
A student is bullied. A student calls out for help. A bully gets called into the office and spoken to. The bully leaves the office, says nothing until the next day and rebullies. The student goes to the office again for help. The student is advised to walk away if they “bother” them again. This time the student walks aways, but isn’t able to get up after being beaten outside of the school yard. The student is terrified. The student receives inappropriate emails, texts. The student feels worthless. The student ends their life.
Bullies have been bullied before, and were not given a chance to VOICE their hurt, and only know survival skills, so they bully to protect their own pain.
A VOICE IS THE MOST POWERFUL TOOL ANYONE CAN OBTAIN AND THE MOST DEFINING MOMENT WHERE POLICIES CAN CHANGE, IN A WORKPLACE, IN A HOME, IN A SCHOOL.
How we approach our children when they aren’t able to speak about what bothers them can change the outlook. Here are a few tips to help you along the way –
1. Feeling safe is the number one thing a child feels comfort
2. Talking, when feeling safe they are able to start processing their thoughts
3. Getting down to their level of what their worry is often makes it real for them and feeling understood
4. Drawing – art therapy is one amazing tool that helps a child express their thoughts
5. More knowledge of their fear the more empowering feeling it becomes for a child. Knowledge is power- embrace it!
6. Deep Breathing or as we often call it Mindfulness techniques are a tool that even adults use when things get overbearing .
7. As parents we cannot see the sight of our own child buried in their worries, give them the time to tell you, it makes a child feel they can reach out and know you’re there . A listening ear is far more productive than fixing their issues for them .
8. Always ask your child – is there anything you need from me? It allows them to understand you are there for them no matter what.
Anxiousness often subsides, but when we are in the moment, it feels like an eternity. And validate that feeling! It’s okay to feel that, it’s their emotions, it’s part of them , therefore it become meaningful , no matter how big or small.