Mental Health Stigma in 2021: Think Big

By Nancy Virden (c)2021

“Please keep guns away from the mentally ill,” is an unfortunate phrase I heard in a public prayer recently, spoken by a wonderful person whom I truly respect. Knowing the source, I was not offended, rather saddened. Destigmatized wording would be, “Please keep guns away from criminals.”

As mentioned in the first of this series, I am feeling a bit battle-worn in the fight against stigma. It took other people teaching me to unlearn stigmatized expressions, and I have wanted to inform others. However, if mental illness had not become part of my story, would I care? Perhaps not as much.

A successful business man who focuses on helping entrepreneurs, said to me, “If you want to change the minds of a few, think small. If you want to change a culture, think big.” Thinking big is all I do, however having the skills and emotional fortitude to follow-through without help is another matter. Most of us are in that “small” arena, trying to get our families and friends to understand. Larger spheres can seem out of reach.

It is not my intention to sound defeatist. I still dream and work. However, in my experience, encouraging people in small groups has been far more successful than talking to the faceless millions on radio or podcast shows. I am grateful for people like Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, Howie Mandel, Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato, Chris Evans and other celebrities who keep the conversation moving on the big stage.

What can you do? Each of us can share our story. A culture will not change because a handful of people talk about alternatives to mental health stigma. One personal story can open the minds of a few, another a few more, and so on. WE are the big idea.

Bear in mind how much God loves those who believe in Him and who follow His Son Jesus Christ. He stands with us, eager to turn hate and oppression into love and freedom, misunderstanding to truth, and a sense of aloneness to relationship with Him first, and in fulfilling connections with others.


Today’s Helpful Word

Isaiah 53:2-5 (A prophecy about Jesus circa eight hundred years before Jesus lived on earth. )
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

 Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

Nancy’s latest FREE e-books! Click on the pictures for immediate access:

How the Difference Maker Lifts You Above Depressive Thoughts (c)2020

Stay at Home and Thrive! (c)2020

Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.

NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!


Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.