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Don't be ashamed

Top 10 Things I Need to Know About Mental Health and Addictions

Don't be embarrassed

The thought of having a mental illness might be frightening to you. Perhaps you are worried about what others will think or how they will treat you if they know that you have a mental illness. Maybe you are worried that others will treat you differently. Unfortunately, these are still misconceptions about mental illness and addictions. The fear of being judged or labeled because of a mental illness or addiction is one of the reasons people don’t seek treatment. Don’t let shame or embarrassment prevent you from seeking help. 

Some things to keep in mind are:

1. Mental illness and addictions are real. You cannot just “snap out of it”. Just as you would seek treatment for a broken bone, a mental illness also needs to be treated. 

2. Mental illness and addictions affect all of us. It doesn’t care what race, age or gender you are. If you have a mental illness, you are not alone.

3. Mental illness and addiction is caused by many different factors. It does not mean that you are weak or lazy. Getting help shows strength of character.

4. Mental illness and addiction does not define who you are. You are a unique individual who happens to have a mental illness. 

What Should I Do?

1. Who you tell is up to you. Remember that your health care team is not permitted to share any information about your diagnosis or treatment without your consent. 

2. Educate yourself about mental illness. Read about it from trusted sources, discuss it with your health care provider, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. 

3. You do not have to deal with it alone. Get support from close friends and family and find out about resources in your community such as peer support groups. 

4. Always have hope. No matter how discouraged you may feel, find comfort in knowing that things won’t always be this way. Change is inevitable. Recovery is possible. Take the first step by asking for help.