Stigma and Mental Health

These past few weeks many celebrities have “come out” as having mental illness. To me, it’s a strange concept that having mental illness is still an embarrassing or shameful matter. We can state the obvious, yes, that getting out there and “spreading the word” or “spreading awareness” or giving money to research institutions may help decrease the stigma of mental illness. However, at the end of the day, despite all our efforts, we have not seen a major shift in the stigma of mental illness like we have with other movements. How did those movements get momentum? It does start at the grass roots, but it has to spread. It has to spread to others who do not have a vested interest in the topic. I ask that you do your part. Your part is not just caring about mental health. If you are on my blog, then I know you already do. Your part is to spread the word to others.

Some suggestions:

  1. Try the 22 day push-up challenge, which is a great way to spread mental health awareness.
  2. Tag on Facebook or twitter once per month #mentalhealthmatters
  3. Thank others when they open up about their mental health. It’s hard for anyone to open up about mental health, but let’s make it easier for others to share their experience!

I am giving a talk on Saturday (10/29/16) at the Mental Health Wellness Fair for Fairfax County Public Schools 11:30-12:20pm on kids, anxiety, and “failure to launch.” Hope to see you there!

Click to access ConferenceProgram2016.pdf



I am a clinical psychologist with approximately 15 years of experience assessing and treating anxiety and depressive disorders in young children, adolescents, young adults, adults and geriatric populations. I completed a 6-year predoctoral training award at the National Institute of Mental Health, and postdoctoral training at the Anxiety Disorders Center at the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital. From my clinical and research experiences, I have come to see the struggles of many families deciding when to pursue professional help and feeling very lost in the process. I will address several mental health issues that will help educate and empower my readers to make better mental health decisions for themselves. Welcome to my blog! Johanna Kaplan, Ph.D. Disclaimer-This blog is not and cannot be used in replace of formal therapy. This blog is used to inform and educate and is not a form of informal or formal advice.

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