Be Mindful to Reduce Mental Health Stigmas

As awareness and education surrounding mental health increases, our community is becoming more open to talking about the realities of living with mental illness. However, we can still do our part to reduce stigma and create a supportive environment for people working through their condition.


It’s More Common Than You Think

While we do not have up-to-date local statistics on the prevalence of mental health conditions in Bermuda, it is estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO) that one in four adults will experience a mental health condition such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, substance use disorder, psychosis, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder in a given year. It’s important to educate yourself and others on these conditions and how to be sensitive toward those going through them.

Choose Your Words Carefully

Be conscious of the language you use when referring to everyday experience. Sometimes, we use diagnostic terms to describe typical behavior, throwing around remarks such as, “She is bipolar” after arguing with a friend, or “I’m so OCD” when describing your own work standards, or “My team is depressing me” when describing the poor performance of your football team. This use of language may make someone experiencing a mental health condition feel ashamed or alienated, which can contribute to a culture of shame. There is still much work to do, but huge advances have been made toward destigmatising depression and fuelling important conversations about mental health.


Talk About It

Show compassion. Starting a conversation with someone about their feelings is not always easy. A good place to start is by taking a genuine interest in how they are doing. Ask questions; engage with them authentically, openly and without judgement. Make sure that the time and place of the conversation is appropriate and comfortable so that your full attention can be devoted to that person. If they need further assistance, encourage them to reach out to community mental health resources. Working through a mental health issue is deeply nuanced. The therapies and treatments are so personal. It can be a huge comfort knowing that the journey does not have to be made alone.


Stay Connected

The sheer number of wellness apps and growing catalogue of online therapy programmes will show you just how prevalent mental health conditions are. No matter how independent we think we are, we all need others for connection, love, and to find meaning in our lives. When the going gets tough, we can turn to those around us. But when times are really tough, it may feel like the easiest thing to do is to isolate and pull away from those closest to you — even though that’s when we need them most. You need only look as far as your smartphone to find helpful resources – download a meditation app, offload your thoughts journal-style in your Notes app, or simply reach out to a trusted support person with a phone call or text message.

  • The Employee Assistance Programme’s (EAP Bermuda) 24-hour hotline – (441) 292-9000
  • 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Line – (441) 239-1111
  • Pathways Bermuda – (441) 236-0823

For more helpful tips, tune into Thrive. Minute on Tuesday evenings on BBC, a health and wellness segment brought to you by the Argus Group.

DISCLAIMER: The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.