Entering into the grocery store, searching for your next meal, you decide to inspect a food product label which can sound a bit like this:

Contains 60 calories

0g of saturated fat

120mg of sodium.

Checking labels can be vital, especially for people who struggle with medical challenges or seek to improve overall nutrition. However, let’s discuss how labels can cause barriers and stigmatize those within the mental health community. We are going to review common myths that continue to impact our thought process and ultimately guide our youth in regards to how they will decide to manage their own emotional wellness into adulthood.

Checkout common phrases you may have encountered within your immediate family and/or community when it comes to seeking professional mental health services:

They don’t need to know our business...

I don’t have time to be stressed...

Well, this is how they handled it back in the day...

Many of these phrases can create feelings of guilt and cultivate labels such as weakness. Although we understand there are many factors that contribute to individuals and their engagement in treatment such as Cultural Competence In Service Delivery, we can take the first step and initiate the conversation within our own family/community. Ways in which we can provide support to those who are contemplating professional assistance can look like this:

Family Member: I have really been feeling down lately, I just can’t get it together. I think I may need help.

Your Response: Thank you for opening up and sharing your feelings with me, how can I help you get connected to the right people?

Responses that are not helpful may include:

Maybe you just need some rest...

When I feel that way I like to...

I don’t know why you are sad, you have so much to be thankful for...

Another example:

Parent: I have noticed a change in my child’s behavior. She comes home from school and isolates herself. Mood swings and appetite changes have been significant.

Your Response: Thank you for sharing, you should talk to her about how she is feeling and explore her relationships along with thoughts of self harm. Feel free to speak to counselors at her school about services if needed.

Responses that are not helpful may include:

She is just a teenager...

She will grow out of it...

I was that way when I was growing up and look at me...

Our family members, friends, and community are much more than labels. We encourage you to reflect on your own thought processes and beliefs around emotional wellness and advocate for those seeking professional assistance. For additional information, checkout

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