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The Stigma Against Seeking Mental Health Services

I want to start this off with my dislike of the DSM. It is the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is the book of disorders and codes mental health clinicians use to formulate a diagnosis that is the basis of treatment & crucial to the use of insurance for mental health conditions.

When using insurance, we have to diagnose you with a disorder (or Z code) insurance companies deem worthy enough to receive payment for. My first issue is that that is a requirement for treatment. My second issue is that all these categories are considered disorders. No wonder there is a stigma against seeking mental health treatment!

Society and insurance companies have framed it and trapped us into labeling people (who are infinitely unique) with these categories of “disorder”. The root prefix “dis” means “lack of, not”. Lack… Of… Order. Which is funny because a characteristic of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder is literally a heightened sense of orderliness, but I digress. In general, I don’t like the message the word disorder or, going into another realm, disability sends to others and our inner Selves. I think those words reinforce stigma that people are broken and can’t be fixed. What if everyone was broken in some way? Meaning no one is perfect. Meaning healing is a lifelong, beautiful, painful journey for every person.

What if we saw it as everyone could benefit from this neutral person, an outsider to your family, your life, removed from your deep emotional wounds that cloud your judgment and sit with you in your pain and offer you a path when you are ready to move toward that healing?

That is what therapists do. Why wouldn’t we want that in our lives? I’m a therapist and guess what? I have my own therapist. Judge me if you want but choose- is that you as your most true Self judging me or is that your conditioning judging me? Either way, I will proudly walk down the street and walk into my therapist’s office because I want more out of life than just going through the motions. I want to thrive and taking some time to reflect on myself/my experiences & refill my cup is helpful in doing that. It allows me to have better balance and sometimes… it creates more “disorder” because healing is messy, and that’s okay. ❤️


Published by Anchoring Hope

We are a small collective of counselors dedicated to distributing helpful, relatable content directly to your device! We also provide counseling services to those in Virginia & an anxiety training that can be accessed around the globe!

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