mental health stigma

Mental Health Stigma: Breaking Down Barriers to Better Health

Hey, it’s about time we opened up about something we often whisper about – mental health. Yes, you heard it right. Why do we treat it like a taboo? We all know it’s just as important as our physical health, right? But that pesky stigma around mental illness keeps us from reaching out and getting the help we or our loved ones might need.

Breaking the Silence

Here’s the thing. This stigma doesn’t just show up as clear-cut discrimination or social exclusion. It’s more sneaky than that. Negative stereotypes, misconstrued media portrayals, it’s everywhere. And what’s worse? It keeps us quiet, it makes us hesitant to seek help, even from our family and friends or our health caregivers.

Let’s look at it this way. The World Health Organization did some number crunching and found out that depression and anxiety alone make the global economy lose a whopping $1 trillion per year due to lost productivity. And we’re not even talking about the skyrocketing healthcare costs and the effect it has on the quality of life for those living with mental health conditions.

Recently, I stumbled upon an article in the National Library of Medicine, highlighting how stigma can stop us from getting the help we need, which ultimately leads to poor treatment results and a lesser quality of life for those who are too ashamed to seek treatment.

Puerto Rican Afflictions

Now, let’s dive into something specific. Another study published in the National Library of Medicine compared the mental health conditions between Puerto Rico, mainland United States, and the Puerto Rican population living in the United States. The results? Pretty interesting.

25% of Puerto Ricans had some kind of psychiatric disorder – a figure pretty similar to the United States. However, the most common issues varied slightly. In Puerto Rico, mood disorders (23.8%), anxiety disorders (18.2%), and substance use disorders (11.8%) took the lead.

The study also found that folks with less social support and acceptance from friends and family were more prone to mood and substance use disorders. And guess who had a tougher time? Individuals between 18 to 44, women, those living in poverty, and the unemployed.

Next Steps

So, what does this mean for us? It’s a big sign pointing towards the urgent need for accessible services in Puerto Rico, with a focus on addressing stigma and social alienation of those struggling with mental health.

The secret to breaking down the barriers of stigma starts with you and me, through education and awareness.Our mental health professionals are key players here, advocating for policy changes, providing empathetic and evidence-based care, and helping reduce stigma. We are finally seeing these programs starting to emerge.The Puerto Rico Department of Health is one of the first to step up and launch a mental health awareness campaign.

So, how about we join hands and break down that stigma together? By becoming more understanding and supportive within ourselves, our families, and communities, and by making mental health professionals more approachable and accessible, we can all work towards a healthier Puerto Rico, and why not, a healthier world.


Unite for Healing: Your Contribution, Puerto Rico's Transformation.

Embark on a journey of transformation with the Pravan Foundation. Your generous donation becomes a beacon of hope, illuminating the path to mental wellness for countless individuals in Puerto Rico. Together, let’s break down barriers, ushering in a new era of mental health and well-being.

Make a difference today – your contribution is the cornerstone of change, healing, and renewed hope across the island. Join us, and be the change that Puerto Rico needs. Unite for healing, unite for transformation, unite for a brighter tomorrow.

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