Disclose or not? The catch 22 of mental illness stigma

Disclosing mental-health issues isn't easy but avoidance is costly

Posted Mar 31, 2011

I want to share aa article of mine from psychinaction, a graduate student blog I created while back at UCLA, because I think it applies to addiction as much as it does to other mental health issues:

A report published by SAMHSA addresses the issue of self-disclosure regarding mental illness.

Research has already shown that the more familiar people are with others who have different form of mental illness, the more their attitudes regarding mental illness will improve.

The problem is that in the process, those who self-disclose fear being ostracized, losing their jobs, and suffering other similar consequences.

Still, the report found that those who do self-disclose often experience relief and find that it improves their relationships. I think this can be especially true for addicts, who often feel shame and therefore hide their drug issues.

Obviously, the process requires careful timing. Also, a progression of self-disclosure, from a small group of trusted friends on, is suggested. However, I think it's important to consider that while disclosure can be difficult, it can be extremely theraputic if completed appropriately and can help move society as a whole away from the awful stigma.

For the full report, go here: "Self-disclosure and its impact on individuals who receive mental health services."

 

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