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Why it's important to talk about mental health

Change the conversation to erase the stigma

Why is it easy to say you have a stomach ache, but difficult to say you are feeling anxious? Why is it easier to talk about having a health condition like diabetes or heart disease, but hard to talk about having bipolar disorder or depression?

The answer is mental health stigma. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), stigma happens when people are negatively viewed External Site for having a specific characteristic. “Mental health stigma” refers to the stigma attached to mental health conditions and the discrimination that can happen to people who have them.

How does stigma affect mental health?

Despite being highly treatable, the stigma and misconceptions surrounding mental health prevent people from seeking help or treatment.

delay treatment due to mental stigma

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, 8 of 10 workers with a mental health condition External Site say shame and stigma stop them from seeking treatment. Here are just a few more harmful ways stigma can affect mental health:

  • Creates a lack of understanding by family, friends, co-workers and others
  • Increases social isolation
  • Leads to poor housing or trouble finding housing
  • Results in fewer opportunities for work, school or social activities

Improve your mental health with virtual visits

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield members can access mental health support without even leaving their home through Doctor On Demand®. A mental health provider can get the conversation about your mental health started and help you determine the best course of treatment for your specific needs. A virtual visit through Doctor On Demand is a covered benefit by many Wellmark health insurance plans.

Start having healthier conversations about mental health

The words we choose can have a negative effect on how we view mental health. Here’s what you can do to change the conversation around mental health.

Choose language that helps, not hurts

Simple phrases like “Work is driving me crazy” or “He’s acting weird” may seem innocent, but for those facing mental health challenges, they’re anything but simple. This type of language can be hurtful and cause people to feel alone or ashamed. It can reinforce stigmas that keep them from getting the help they need.

Be open to talking about mental health

By embracing an openness to discuss mental health conditions, there’s an opportunity to reduce stigma by acknowledging shared challenges.

Use stigma-reducing language

When we start defining the mental health condition and not the person External Site, we can help reduce the stigma for those seeking support and treatment. For example, instead of saying someone is mentally ill, say they are a person living with a mental health challenge or use the diagnosis if the person prefers that language (for example, major depressive disorder). Challenge yourself to use person-first language External Site to put focus on the individual and not their disorder or diagnosis.

Help defy mental health stigma now

May is mental health awareness month. There is no better time to change the conversation around mental health. Because when we change how we talk, we help people be heard.

Remember, supporting your mental health is just as important as supporting your physical health. Make a virtual therapy appointment today through Doctor On Demand or find a therapist in your area by registering for or logging in to myWellmark Secure Site.

Doctor On Demand physicians do not prescribe Drug Enforcement Administration-controlled substances, and may elect not to treat conditions or prescribe other medications based on what is clinically appropriate.

For plans that include benefits for mental health treatment, Doctor On Demand benefits may include treatment for certain psychological conditions, emotional issues and chemical dependency. Services performed by Doctor On Demand psychologists are covered. For more information, call Wellmark at the number on your ID card.

Doctor On Demand by Included Health is a separate company providing an online telehealth solution for Wellmark members. Doctor On Demand® is a registered mark of Doctor On Demand, Inc.