Officials seek to decrease stigmas associated with mental health
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Medical experts said often times, people will look at others and think they have it all. However, mental health is a struggle that impacts many people, even those that can seem fine.
Actress Ashley Judd revealed details about the day her mother, Naomi Judd, passed away on Good Morning America on Thursday.
Ashley confirmed that her mother did suffer from mental illness and that Naomi used a firearm when she died by suicide.
WAVE News spoke to Dr. Ravi Johar, chief medical officer for United Healthcare, during mental health awareness month.
A decade ago, many would shy away from talking about mental health, but that is changing. Mental health is becoming more of a “discussable” topic and more people are becoming comfortable to openly acknowledge mental illness. However, many stigmas still remain.
Mental health and physical health are connected, according to Johar. As the connection between mental and physical health has become more known, mental health conversations have become easier.
“Really having a mental illness is no different than having something like high blood pressure, or diabetes or thyroid disease,” Johar said. “Those are things that happen and you need to deal with them and not try to ignore them.”
Despite a cultural charge to decrease stigmas related to mental health, more than half of people with mental illness do not seek help. They fear embarrassment, being treated differently, and even losing their job.
Some people often don’t know how to find mental health providers. Johar said generally, the best initial step to locate a mental health provider is through a primary care physician.
Johar said there is self-stigma, such as negative attitudes and internalized shame, that many people with mental illness have about their own condition.
He said just as we make yearly visits to our primary care physicians, it’s essential to prioritize regular mental health maintenance checks, whether with a physician, a specialist or through self-assessment tools.
Regular care of your mental health can help deter chronic conditions and improve quality of life. The goal is to avoid a crisis.
For more information or help, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ website or United Healthcare’s mental health programs and benefits page.
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