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We Undo Stigma One Story at a Time

Written By: Lauren Howard

You shouldn’t talk about your mental health publicly.

It could interfere with your job search.

Your potential new employer could think there is something wrong with you.

That was the sentiment from someone on LinkedIn with a gigantic following.


Eff that.

I take a pill every day. I call it my allergy medication. It helps with my allergy to other people that sometimes makes the world turn gray.

And listen, I get it. No one is saying that you have to talk about your mental health journey with literally anyone except for your healthcare providers and maybe your family. It’s scary to get that personal and vulnerable, and if you’re not ready for it, you’re not ready for it.

You also don’t ever have to be ready for it.

But telling people that having a public history of mental illness or treatment for their mental health can hurt their job search? That doesn’t stop people from talking about it on the internet. The people who were worried about that probably weren’t going to anyway.

It stops people from talking about it . . . period.

People who haven’t talked about it ever are now less likely to talk about it at all.

You’re not impacting the people like me with big mouths who have already been open about it. You’re not talking to the people who are already going through treatment and learning their way through. You’re talking to the people who are still working through a possible need for help and underpinning that needing help is the problem.

You're reinforcing the stigma that people who have received treatment are unreliable. They’re untrustworthy. They’re erratic. They’re dangerous.

Why else would you need to keep it a secret?

Isolation lies. It makes us feel like it’s just us. No one else has ever felt the way that you feel, so what’s the point of telling anyone else because no one else will understand. You’re the problem.

No. Not at all.

Lies are fertilized with secrecy and negativity, and they're hard to quell with support. The human mind believes shame before anything else.

Sharing our stories paves the way to creating a better environment for the people who aren’t where we are yet— one little story at a time. It’s important to see that it can be part of your success story and so many people come out on the other side.

That's how we undo stigma. One story at a time.


Founder & CEO at elletwo


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1 Comment

Dec 05, 2023

I am...well, not "loud and proud" about my chronic depression, but absolutely "audible and unashamed"! If I never talked about it, how could I smash the stigma? And I am all about the smashing of stigma! I didn't ask for the genetic predisposition, nor for the life-altering case of shingles in my 30s that triggered the until-then-latent depression (and still affects my health today). It's not MY fault that I have this disease, and it's not a disease deserving of any more shame than diabetes or cancer -- i.e. none. I'm an effing HERO, just for getting out of bed each day, let alone greeting colleagues and clients with good cheer, and working productively all day. So, yeah, I'…

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