Having spent many years in the military I saw the stigma surrounding mental health on a regular basis. Anyone who had a mental health problem was viewed as weak, lazy or faking. However, I have also seen some big strides in fighting this stigma in the forms of mental health education programs in which I was so proud to be a part of. However, this stigma still exists in society just as it does in the military. People are ashamed if they have a mental illness and that should be viewed as just as ridiculous as someone saying they are ashamed of having cancer or diabetes. The people living with mental illness shouldn’t be labelled or defined by their illness and the words to describe them should never include the highly stigmatizing slang such as: psycho, schizo, crazy, nuts etc. But the biggest problem is not the language being spoken about mental illness, it’s the lack of talking. It is still viewed as an uncomfortable topic that very few wish to engage in and that desperately needs to change.

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