Cleveland's Ward 2 Councilman shares his story in efforts to reduce stigma
One of the goals of the Healthy Cleveland Behavioral Health Committee is to address stigma, a term which Merriam Webster defines as “a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something.” Stigma prevents people from openly discussing behavioral health issues for a variety of reasons, such as being the target of ridicule, scorn, anger; adverse perception by family or professional colleagues; being labeled as less-than; etc. The end result is that people remain un- or mis-informed, applying stereotypical beliefs about what behavioral health is, what behavioral health treatment consists of, and overlooking the fact that treatment works and people recover, so much so that people who need or desire help are deterred from doing so. Uninterrupted, it is a horrible cycle. By starting conversations and sparking understanding around behavioral health--what it is and how to get help--we will make it easier for those who have a behavioral health need feel more comfortable in seeking supportive services.
The driving force behind the stigma reduction campaign is the 'We Are Behavioral Health Living Mural'. The virtual mural (which can be found here) allows anyone--perhaps you?--to share their story by following the simple instructions on the info-graphic we created for this project. As another level of impact we have begun to collect video interviews from individuals of all backgrounds and walks of life to encourage others not to fear or be ashamed to take care of their behavioral health.
We are grateful to have had the opportunity to interview one of our local leaders, Councilman Zack Reed, councilman for Ward 2, for this purpose and hope his story inspires others not to give up and remember that #ThereIsNoNormal.
If you or someone you know is interested in being interviewed and sharing your story please send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org