‘We should make it clear that getting help isn’t a sign of weakness—it’s a sign of strength.” – Michelle Obama.
The stigma of mental illness is like a veil that blinds us to the reality of the daily struggles millions of Americans face. In fact, each year, 44 million adults experience mental illness in America, but less than 50% of people go for treatment because of the stigma attached to it.
The statistics highlight the extent to which stigma affects those living with mental issues, often leading to feelings of shame, fear, and isolation. Stephanie Gilbert, a professional therapist, aims to normalize conversations around mental health care.
Starting her journey in a small town in central Illinois, Stephanie was a child suffering from an eating disorder and OCD. In a place where mental health care was not talked about, getting specialized help was very challenging. However, with her family’s support, she sought the help she needed, which turned around her life. This was the time when she was inspired to become a therapist herself, for which she eventually moved to Los Angeles after college.
Picture credits: Kate Haus, photographer from Los Angeles
Passionate about neutralizing the bias and shame associated with mental health care, Stephanie makes sure to talk about it with clients during therapy sessions. She wants to make a micro change by talking to people one on one. Her goal is to work for mental health care accessibility and normalize seeking treatment.
Stephanie also writes blogs like The Fear Of What Others Could Say About Us and Internalized Stigma: What We Believe Has Power to talk about the factors that contribute to not availing mental health treatment and how to overcome them. She stresses that we all can play a part in de-stigmatization as individuals by being mindful of what we write on social media and not judging others. She also believes more people should join groups like NAMI to educate themselves on this topic.
As a therapist, Stephanie believes that talking about mental health issues is the best way to motivate people to get help. According to her, individuals who feel comfortable discussing their mental health challenges should do so, as hearing about others’ experiences can empower patients to seek help and pursue therapy. This is why she is open about her childhood mental issues of OCD and an eating disorder. Stephanie firmly believes that ‘Stigma can come from a lack of understanding’. By reading about or listening to people’s mental issues, one can empathize with them and understand their behaviors better.
On her website, Stephanie offers a support group for people with eating disorders. These groups allow patients to have a safe space where they are more comfortable discussing their illnesses. It is a great tool to decrease shame and normalize these illnesses. She also aspires to do live videos and engage with her community to ensure everyone feels heard and seen.
As a long-term goal, Stephanie plans to make downloadable digital resources, including a book. Also, she plans to continue to be involved in non-profit organizations like NAMI to raise awareness on mental health.
Moreover, she is working to create a Patreon page. This page will let people learn about mental health care and interact with others who share the same struggles. It will also offer a variety of topics, including signs and symptoms of mental health diagnoses, treatment modalities, and self-care ideas.
Stephanie Gilbert inspires many with her journey from struggling with mental health issues to becoming a professional therapist. She taps into her experience to help others and positively impact the mental health services industry. Her dedication to creating awareness about getting mental health treatment without feeling ashamed is a reminder that it is not only courageous but a necessary step toward healing.
If you also need help, visit her website and set up a consultation that might just transform your life.
You can also follow her on Instagram for more insights on prevailing mental health issues.