We believe in a two-pronged approach to combatting the stigma of depression and mental health issues. Depression and mental health issues need to be humanized. This does not happen by quoting endless statistics. While the statistics are important, it is the stories of the people living with mental wellness issues that will compel others to speak up and seek help. Stating that 1 in 10 people lives with depression is proven less effective than telling the story of that one person and the things that have worked for them in treating their illness.
Another immensely important factor in stigma is self-stigma.
If the person living with depression or another mental health issues feel that they are not worthy of help or that they have no value, they are not likely to speak up and seek the help they need. Unfortunately, the symptoms of depression often force a person to carry these very thoughts about themselves. We believe self-stigma is the root cause in much of the perceived stigma surrounding mental health issues and depression.
At Project Helping, we use group volunteering to combat both of these issues. By volunteering, we not only leverage the amazing health benefits of volunteering, but we also humanize mental health issues. We share with the world all the great things people living with depression and mental health issues are doing to give back to their community and we allow people seeking to improve their mental health to witness their peers doing amazing things to give back.
One of the most beneficial things about volunteering is it is proven to improve one’s self image and mood. This improvement reduces the self-stigma one may be carrying about struggling with their mental wellness. By reducing any existing self-stigma, people are much more likely to seek additional help, if needed, for their mental health.