One of my friends today expressed the belief that the psychology or counseling profession hasn't done enough to destigmatize counseling or psychotherapy. Considering all of the challenges that people are currently facing, he said that it is a shame that more people are not using counseling services to help them better cope with the struggles they face in today's world. He expressed the belief that many people don't get counseling services because of the stigma that is attached to getting help, and expressed the belief that counseling should be as common as going to the dentist. He was particularly concerned about the degree of depression, suicide, and violence that could be prevented if people felt more comfortable using counseling services. There does seem to be a shift in that counseling or psychotherapy does not have the stigma it once had, but I would agree that there continues to be a need for less stigmatization. I have heard it said that younger people prefer to go to a "life coach", instead of a psychologist or counselor because it is less stigmatizing, but I don't have actual data or statistics. Counseling can be extremely valuable in helping people with a number is issues and concerns. It is probably true that some people remain hesitant to use counseling or see a therapist for concern that they may be identified as. "mentally ill". They may believe it may make them look bad to their partners, friends, or their family members. (Particularly those who boast that they themselves don't need it) It may imply that they are not strong enough to handle things themselves. This is an area that is particularly sensitive for men. I personally think it might be a good idea to get rid of the the term, "mental illness" and just focus on the issue which is presented by the client. There may be times when we don't even need to make a diagnosis, except that insurance companies will not reimburse us without it, and there are times when the diagnostic label itself can be problematic. If a person has some difficulty or troubling situation then the therapist or counselor can just help them address that particular situation more effectively, maybe we don't always need to use a label. The diagnosis can help at times, but I wonder if we don't over use this often helpful tool. Have more primitive cultures in the past stigmatized their tribal members for seeking help with either physical or emotional challenges. Was there a stigma for visiting the Shaman if you were going through stress, or if your wife was driving you "crazy"?
There doesn't seem to be so much of a stigma for having a physical illness or a physical disability, but it is very different for mental health issues. I would really like to hear some of your thoughts on this topic. I wonder if there are any countries where there is less stigma regarding mental health? that do not currently have a stigma on mental health? I really don't know much about this and would be glad to hear from you.