Psychiatrists are only for crazy people, right? WRONG! People who are depressed are weak, right? WRONG! People who use drugs and alcohol only have character flaws, right? WRONG!
Thousands of people who have emotional pain suffer in silence, because they do not receive mental health treatment.

Don't let unjust stigma and pride stand in the way of you living of a happier and healthier life. False beliefs like those above prevent countless numbers of people, especially people of color, from getting adequate mental health care as well as adequate healthcare overall.

Stigma is loosely defined by Dictionary.com as, “a mark of disgrace or a stain, as on one’s reputation.”

While stigma is definitely a real phenomenon, it is many times founded in ignorance, lies, and can be quite destructive, as is the case with the stigma of mental illness. Many healthy individuals seek psychiatric and mental health services not only to treat very common issues like depression and anxiety which affect millions of people, but also for maintenance of a healthy mind state through psychoeducation and therapy.

Common reasons to go see a psychiatrist or other mental health
professional include:
  • Relationship problems with a romantic partner, family members, or co-workers
  • Money problems and unemployment
  • Depression
  • The death of a family member or friend
  • Anxiety
  • Being diagnosed with a severe medical condition
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Uncontrolled drug and alcohol use
  • Unexplained or chronic physical pain
  • Feelings of loneliness

Mental health problems are far more common than you might think. According to the organization Mental Health America, “It is estimated that more than 21 million American children and adults annually suffer from a depressive episode and that depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States for individuals ages 15 to 44.”

Ignoring the issue doesn’t solve the issue. Those who have earlier diagnosis and treatment of most mental health issues have far better outcomes, so don't let stigma and pride stand in the way of a happier and healthier you!

– Written by BPGNY Member Byron Young, M.D.
Dr. Young is a psychiatrist at Hofstra North Shore LIJ School of Medicine in Long Island.
BPGNY & Associates
c/o United Social Services, Inc.
2 West 64th Street, #505
New York, NY 10023
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