DESTIGMATIZING MENTAL ILLNESS
Stigma is toxic to mental health because it creates an environment of shame, fear, and silence that prevents people from seeking help or treatment. The negative perception of mental illness won't change unless we act to change it.
MENTAL HEALTH STIGMA IN ASIA
Mental health is a taboo topic in Asia. Asian people fear of being thought of as weak or "crazy" for having a psychological disorder. Some see mental illness as the ultimate form of shame. Shame and embarrassment force many to struggle in silence and never seek help. Furthermore, Asians tend to report somatic symptoms (racing heartbeat, insomnia, constant headaches) more than psychological symptoms, which leads to lower awareness around seeking help from psychiatrist/psychologist as opposed to a physician. As such, Asian people don't seek mental health care because their culture stigmatizes mental illness.
MENTAL STRAIN IS COMMON AMONG STUDENTS IN ASIAN
Competition to get into the best schools.
Academic achievements reflects on the family.
LACK OF PEER CONNECTION
No time for recreation and socialiation
MENTAL HEALTH AMBASSADORS
Spreading Awareness to Destigmatiize Mental Health
The isolation, blame and secrecy that are often associated with mental health stigma prevent those struggling from reaching out and getting the needed support. Stigma stems from fear. Thus, the more we can educate people and expose them to mental health awareness, the sooner people will overcome their fears about what it means to have mental health challenges or mental illness.
HOOP HERO INITIATIVE
Schools play a vital role in addressing mental health stigma. Hoop Hero Ambassador Nick is committed to raising mental health awareness in Asia through student leaders. The key is to reduce negative perceptions of mental illness in the community. To do so, Nick is reaching out to student leaders and athletes from international schools in Asia to organize mental health awareness campaigns, which includes a pledge to correct their peers if they make stereotypical or unsupportive remarks to people struggling with mental health difficulties.