Why Is Mental Healthcare Stigmatized?
Even as we progress as a society, mental health is still a mysterious and unapproachable topic for many. Conversations about mental illnesses continue to remain hushed and few and far between. When trying to bring up discussions about mental well-being, many people experience feelings of shame, apprehension, and fear - and understandably so. There is an overwhelming fear of being misunderstood or, worse, judged by our loved ones. At times, we find ourselves stuck in place, unable to figure out how to comfort a friend or family member who has confided in us about their mental health struggles. But some brilliantly empowering TED Talks about mental health stigma have motivated and encouraged thousands of people to take the first step and initiate those difficult conversations with their loved ones and in their community.
5 TED Talks Which Overcome The Stigma of Mental Illnesses
1. There's no shame in taking care of your mental health - Sangu Delle
A brilliant and stirring take by Sangu Delle, who hails from Ghana, this TED talk highlights the shame associated with mental health and mental illness worldwide, especially in African nations. Sangu Dell talks about the stigma that often goes hand in hand with the toxic notions of masculinity and the idea that only mentally weak people are diagnosed with mental illnesses. If you've been struggling to build up the courage to seek help, this one will give you that much-needed nudge toward treating yourself with more kindness.
2. How to start a conversation about suicide - Jeremy Forbes
In this TED Talk, Jeremy Forbes brings attention to the sensitive topic of suicide and how suicides affect the community as a whole. In particular, he emphasizes the need to have those difficult conversations with our loved ones if we feel they might be struggling with thoughts of suicide. More importantly, this TED talk reminds us that as individuals, we must create a community that is capable of addressing the complex and sensitive conversations surrounding the topics of mental health, mental illness, and suicide and capable of taking the required actions to support each other as well.
3. Confessions of a depressed comic - Kevin Breel
This is a profoundly personal TED talk, where Elyn Saks, a distinguished Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry, shares her own experience with schizophrenia, the impact it has had in her life, and the various support systems that continue to help her lead a meaningful life through it all. Most poignantly, she points out the need for a less critical and more humane attitude toward people with severe mental illnesses. What they genuinely require is empathy and a belief in their shared humanity rather than stigmatization or cruelty in the name of treatment.
4. A tale of mental illness – from the inside - Elyn Saks
This is a profoundly personal TED talk, where Elyn Saks, a distinguished Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry, shares her own experience with schizophrenia, the impact it has had in her life, and the various support systems that continue to help her lead a meaningful life through it all. Most poignantly, she points out the need for a less critical and more humane attitude toward people with severe mental illnesses. What they truly require is empathy and a belief in their shared humanity, rather than stigmatization or cruelty in the name of treatment.
5. The bridge between suicide and life - Kevin Briggs
In what can be considered one of the best TED talks about mental health, a patrolling officer for the Golden Gate Bridge (one of the most infamous suicide spots), Kevin Briggs, reminds us of the importance of listening to and supporting strangers, friends, or loved ones who may be suicidal, and why it's so crucial to instil hope in them. He brings attention to the aftermath of suicide and how gravely it impacts not only those who are gone but those who are left behind, lost, and unable to cope with the tragedy. He further lists various warning signs for a loved one who may be potentially suicidal.
6. The agony of opioid withdrawal – and what doctors should tell patients about it - Travis Rieder
A painful but deeply revelating recollection of Travis Rieder's experience with prescription opioid withdrawal, this TED talk on mental health and addiction makes us rethink our idea of addiction and how it's considered a sign of weakness. Travis gives a compelling account of his struggle with withdrawal symptoms, the harsh reality of current medical infrastructure, the lack of adequate knowledge and awareness, and the need for better support systems.
We hope these TED talks about depression, and anxiety were able to make you feel supported, understood, and, most importantly, not alone. If these TED talks inspired you to seek out mental healthcare for you and your loved ones, we're here for you. Safe, supportive, and effective therapists and psychiatrists are just a tap away!