This is how stigma happens.
According to a recent UK study, 7 out of 10 male students “struggle to believe their friends have mental health issues”.
In a nationwide study of UK students’ attitudes towards mental health, The Priory Group found 86% agreed there is a stigma attached to mental health issues at university.
So male students are cognizant of the fact that there is a stigma attached to mental health issues, but then turn around and don’t believe anyone they know falls into that category?
Let’s face it, there is a stigma, especially among young males, attached to mental health. A large part of that stigma can be explained by these results. Mental health is a problem for other people, not me and my friends. I’d like to say that men grow out of this idea, but my own experience tells me that’s not true, and the study seems to bear that out:
Older students (between 25-34) are less likely to believe their peers than younger students (18-24)
Guys, just stop it. Seriously. You know people who struggle with depression and other mental health issues. The statistics on mental illness make it almost impossible that you have somehow avoided knowing anyone who has been struggling with their mental health. They just choose not to tell you either because they tried once and you didn’t believe them, or your group has made it sufficiently clear that you consider mental illness to be something that happens to “other” people, and no one wants to be the “other”.
Being the “other” is the definition of stigma. Guys who have mental health struggles are not the “other”, they are your friends, and it’d be great if they could turn to their so-called friends for the support that could help them so very much.