How does stigma affect parenting?
While conversations around mental health have become more open in recent years, there still exists stigma, as if addressing emotional wellbeing means something is "wrong" or parents are "overreacting."
But stigma becomes a barrier to parents from seeking necessary support. It hinders parents from taking preventative steps for children from an early age, which is key to the future of a child's mental health.
So how do you break this stigma?
1. Talk regularly and openly about emotions with your children
This can not only help end stigma on mental health within your family, but strengthen your bond with your children. Express your emotions, about them or other matters, and encourage them to do the same.
2. Educate yourself and those around you
It may feel daunting to push back on somebody who doesn't believe in mental health. But start by having conversations with friends and family members on the importance of emotional wellbeing, and of course, learn more about it yourself first!
3. Encourage the equality of importance between mental and physical health
Both should be looked at seriously and not an individual’s fault. Making sure that your child knows there is nothing "wrong" with them and advocating for them and their condition to others is crucial to understanding why stigma is wrong.