Rachel Sanoff
November 29, 2016 6:19 pm

We are all far too familiar with society’s stigmatization of mental health — from friends and family invalidating mental health struggles since it is not an illness one can see, to the fact that, in many places, mental health resources fall short. Because of this lack of honest and productive conversation regarding mental health, a lot of folks are in the dark about what mental health treatment really looks like.

When people picture psychiatric hospitals, they typically imagine films like One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest or Girl, Interrupted. It’s rare to get insight into what a psychiatric hospital is really like — unless you are a patient yourself, or if you are a healthcare professional.

Some people share stories that smash the cruel stereotypes of psychiatric hospital patients, pointing out the normalcy of everybody they treat because mental illness is a normal thing to have. Others express their deep passion to help people, especially if they were previously patients themselves. They stress that it’s not as scary of a place as pop culture would have us believe.

At the same time, though, you can see the impacts of stigma and a broken mental health care system. Workers may experience burnout and a lack of support that is then detrimental to their own mental health. They witness the shortcomings of a failing health care system, they live with the fear of patients giving up, and they witness parents who refuse to believe that their children need and deserve medical help.

It is so important that people are encouraged to open up about and listen to experiences with mental health. Here are what 15 people have to say:

Always remember, there is no shame in seeking treatment.