“Emily” is a brave girl who works with one of LFCS’ behavioral health therapists. She suffers from having extreme social anxiety and struggles in many common social settings. Recently, Emily had to write an essay for her class that would be presented in front of everyone. Fighting through nervousness and fear, Emily and her therapist used this situation to work through her anxiety. Emily practiced speaking her essay in session (which in itself was a huge accomplishment for her) and built up her confidence for the big moment. When the day came, Emily stood in front of her class and successful shared the following speech:
“Mental health is extremely important. Just like anything else, it will deteriorate if you don’t take good care of it. According to SIRS, “Mental health is a state of cognitive or emotional well-being that affects how an individual copes with stress and life experiences.” Unfortunately, a stigma persists around mental health issues that prevents people from getting help. One of the many issues that increases this stigma are work ethics.
Work Ethics instill a stigma in workers that prevents them from seeking help. According to the New York Times, “In a 2017 paper, nearly 40 percent of physicians reported being hesitant to seek mental health care because they worried it would harm their chances to get or renew their medical licenses.” This shows that the expectations set by the medical field paints a perspective in the physicians’ minds. It makes them think that if any higher ups in the field figure out that a physician’s mental illness is impacting their ability to work in any way, the opportunity of that physician attaining or keeping their job could plummet. But you’re probably thinking, “The fact that only 40 percent of them felt that way probably means that the other 60 percent wasn’t nervous to seek out help.” While that could be true, the fact that a large percent of people were still uncertain about seeking help is shocking. With how things are now, you would think that being able to seek mental help would be the least of people’s worries, but no. The ethics established in the medical field push physicians to limit, to the point where they’re skeptical about trying to improve their own mental health! If they don’t make sure their health is in check, how can they help with someone else’s’ health?
Sadly, the ever-expending stigma surrounding mental health issues continues to restrain people from seeking the help they need. Even though stigma persists and surges, there are ways to help reduce it. Talking about your struggles and how you handled them could help someone else find the courage to overcome theirs. When you see someone struggling, help them out. Encourage them. Cheer them up. It might make their day even just a little bit better.”
Emily, on behalf of Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri, we are so incredibly proud of you! We are proud of your courage, determination for improvement, and passion for mental health advocacy. Thank you for being an example of success to those who are struggling with their own mental health issues.