Celebrities including Sterling K. Brown and DeWanda Wise (among others) have teamed up with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for their new campaign, #CureStigma, at curestigma.org. NAMI is an organization dedicated to making the lives of the millions of Americans suffering from mental illness better. They spread the word and share their message of compassion while providing education and support services to those most in need.
Wise, Brown, and other celebrities like Taraji P. Henson, have been leaving messages of support and giving advice on the cure stigma website. Stigma is associated with shame, leading many to deny any problems they may be having. The stigma comes from a lack of understanding and education in society. Often, many who are suffering from mental illness will keep it to themselves and not seek treatment because of the negative connotations associated with mental illness. Here lies the problem that NAMI is working to fix.
In a Twitter video using the hashtag #CureStigma, Sterling K. Brown tells us what he believes is the best cure for ending the stigma of mental illness: listening. According to Brown, listening, being present, and giving your time is the best thing you could do for anyone close to you who needs help. May has been recognized as "Mental Health Month" since 1949 and the #curestigma campaign will be posting videos and pictures all month to show solidarity and raise awareness. Anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are all considered forms of mental illness that affects the daily life of 43.8 million Americans, or 18.5% of the population.
Fans of This Is Us will know that Brown's character, Randall, suffers from his own sometimes debilitating anxiety issues. His character has dealt with anxiety since he was a child and when this can lead to behavior changes and panic attacks. These storylines brought national awareness to an all too common mental health issue. Furthermore, the character struggling was a strong male who was able to admit he needed help.
Mental illness is definitely a leading cause of issues in today's world and a greater tolerance would make life better for all of us. More education leading to more understanding, and finally ending the stigma, will be a bright day in our future. #CureStigma