Accessing Mental Health Care After a Disaster – How You Can Help Eliminate Stigma

Mental health and addiction continue to be misunderstood and rarely discussed. In a given year, mental health issues will personally impact one in four people in the United States. Mental illness and substance use disorders – just like high blood pressure or diabetes – are preventable and treatable, yet stigma linked to mental health and addiction often keeps people from seeking the help they need. Even in a time of crisis.

A recent blog post by the Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPD) reminds us that stigma is an important issue that disaster responders need to be aware of and take appropriate action to dispel. Read the blog What Does Stigma have to do with Mental Health and Disasters? to better understand how stigma can prevent people from seeking behavioral health care after a disaster and what first responders or other emergency personnel can do to help people access important mental health intervention at such critical times.

Like the ASPD, Beacon advocates for reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and promoting help-seeking behaviors and unencumbered access to care. Beacon introduced the Stamp Out Stigma (S.O.S.) campaign in May 2013 to show our commitment to removing the stigma of mental illness and to educate people on the importance of seeking care when they need it. The campaign was adopted by national sponsor the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness and other behavioral health companies in the health care industry. Together, we deliver the message that recovery is possible.