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It’s okay to not be okay: Removing the Stigma around Mental Health/Illness

breaking down the stigma

We often love sharing all the fun, upbeat and positives things that are going well in our lives. However, when it comes to sharing parts of ourselves that are vulnerable, difficult, and scary, we are often met with harsh criticism from those around us.

Hearing things like: “Man-up,” “We all have problems,” and “Suck it up, buttercup” can be intimidating, discouraging, and challenging.

Here lies the problem. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it’s a sign of STRENGTH. So, ask for help because you’re not alone. Ask for help from those willing to help and support you. Know your UIC Resources!  There are so many people out there wanting to help!

The American Psychological Association describes multiple factors that contribute to mental health stigmas: miseducation, social media, and past institutions/mental illness practices. Social media is a major concern for the masses, it provides a false façade of everyone and everything is perfect all the time (they’re not).

Here is a video that explains the rising student numbers, felling anxiety and emptiness during a pandemic:

How to Break the Stigma of/Around Mental Health:

  • Talk about Mental health: speak openly about life, school, your future and anxiety. Be strong for yourself first.
  • Provide Tools: Having the proper resources available, such as: Counselors and Therapists on campus, is important. Having people trained to talk to students/people about mental health is important and essential to fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment that prioritizes an individual’s well-being. It’s also important to reach out for help and utilize your resources,  so familiarize yourself with the Counseling Centers services. Feeling support and having Positive outlets on campus and at home. (What’s your outlet?)
  • Acceptance and Time: Knowing you’re not alone and countless others are going through similar situations. Allow yourself to heal, one step at a time.
  • Do Your Research: The reason why mental health is stigmatized is because not that many people know about it, so take the time to learn and do some research. After you learn more about it, teach someone else. Share educational resources that helped you get a better sense of what mental health is because we all have it.
  • Become an Ally: All the tips above will help you to learn more about mental health so that the next time someone comes asking YOU for help you are encouraging, welcoming and empathetic. Your response will dictate the individual’s reaction to asking for help so show your compassion listen attentively, do not judge, share resources and let them know they’re not alone.



  • UIC Counseling Center: As a student, this a free, confidential service offered and provided to all. Services are here to help students deal with stress, handle a crisis or trauma, and cope with college transition. Mental Illness is a serious issue we all face and our excellent counselors provide help for students increase resilience and positive well-being.
  • Nami Chicago: is a local organization with experts, advocates and leaders delivering families and individuals with support and education on mental health. They have an all-inclusive community regiment, remote and personal workshops to build a realistic roadmap to a healthy life and mental state.
  • BetterHelp: is a free app for all those looking for e-counseling and mental stability. Their mission states: “Making anyone who struggles with life’s challenges a priority, we can and will help anytime and anywhere” Each person starts with an intake assessment, followed by a phone or zoom session and a plan structured for individual success.
  • Hope for the Day: If you’re looking for educational or advocacy information, look at Hope for the Day at
  • Credible articles regarding mental health: The best way to stop the stigma is to read more about it! Here’s 2 link to articles.

College is one of the most stressful things that you will ever experience! If you ever doubt yourself, remember this: you are strong, you are capable, the stress of college is only temporary, and you will be successful!

Mental Health Minute: College Students and Covid Anxiety Heading link

Break the Stigma Heading link

How to cope with anxiety Heading link


it’s okay to not be okay