Shattering the Mental Health Stigma

Ashley Pryce has started a blog to help destigmatize mental heath issues for people specifically in the non-religious community.

A couple of stories are already up there and he’s inviting contributions from others:

I’m looking for anything, not just articles but poems, stories, pictures, lyrics, videos. Anything to act as a resource, an archive of how people in skepticism and atheism deal with mental health issues… There is still such a stigma associated with mental health that for me the more it is talked about openly and as something normal, then that’s for the better.

Even if you don’t want to share your personal stories, I’m sure your comments over there would be very meaningful to the posts’ writers.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Patrick/100000027906887 Adam Patrick

    Nice. I’ve struggled with anxiety(sometimes to the point of making up excuses to avoid social interaction) for years. The religious community tells me I need more Jesus, but I’d rather have real friends to support me and not think I’m possessed by some demon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    Sounds like a worthy endeavor. I’ve been dealing with something most of my life and I’ve been too embarrassed to get checked out or tell anyone about. I don’t have a clue what it actually is, but I assume it’s some kind of anxiety. It’s become a struggle to even go out and meet with my local CFI group.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Patrick/100000027906887 Adam Patrick

      Sounds like what I’ve been going through. It may be social anxiety disorder. Sometimes, even thinking about social interaction makes me nervous to the point on nausea. 

  • Anonymous

    I have had anxiety and depression since I was about 10 years old (I am 27 now).  I confided in a friend and the cure for her anxiety and depression with Jesus and she thought that was what I needed as well. I would rather get to the root of things than to have the security blanket of the jesus. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Stone/1041558907 Robert Stone

    Christians affect my mental health. And that makes perfect sense, considering that so many of them are ruthless, lying, heartless, treacherous scum.

  • Ash Pryce

    Hi Hemant

    Thanks for this, it’s been very helpful and great in spreading the word.  Have already got some wonderful contributions that will go up in the coming weeks.

    And thank you to your readers who have sent in some amazng stories.

    One slight correction however – here in the UK Ashley is  a unisex name.  Though I will admit having a theatre background I probably need to hand in some of my man cards anyway :D

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      My apologies. I’ve fixed the post!

      • Ash Pryce

        Not a problem!  Gave me a chuckle :)

  • Liz Heywood

    This is a great point. Mental health issues have difficult stigma–and ironically, even among  “reasoning” folks whose former religious experiences have messed up their heads but good, as religions tend to do. I speak from experience: 33 years (suitably biblical) of Christian Science plus untreated osteomyelitis as a kid plus denail, shame, eating disorders, self-hatred, suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety that culminated in a series of breakdowns. But the good news: 15 years working with terrific therapists and psychiatrists in individual and group sessions, I can shine a light of reason in all the dark cobwebby corners of my life that use to terrify me.

    What I love about therapy is that it starts from the point that WE WERE BORN JUST FINE. There’s nothing “crazy” about developing problems as a result of being shamed, abused, neglected and hurt. Religion takes the position that we begin lacking (even something as subtle as “understanding” or “enlightenment”) or labels us sinners, and then tries to sell us the cure. Forget it. I’ve spent my life with horses and kids: both are born open and curious. It’s negative experience that does tha damage.

  • M G

    My depression issues, and the crippling depression that led my younger brother to eventually take his own life, were a BIG part of what led me to my conviction that there is no such thing as a god.

    • aerie

      Me too, MG.  A truly ‘loving father & merciful god’ would never allow his ‘children’ to beg & suffer so much unrelenting pain & anguish for so long.       
      As a parent, I would do everything in my power to end such pain for my child; there’s no “lesson” or “mysterious reason” so important that I would allow him/her to live in such agony.

  • http://frontendpost.com/ FredTheWebGuy

    Great idea! Posting now!

    • Ash Pryce

      Fred, I got your post.  I’ve transfered it to the “Short Stories” page.  It’s posted under my name however, feel free to repost it on Short Stories and I’ll delete my post. 

      Thanks for your contribution.  :)

  • aerie

    My 1st cousin killed himself several yrs ago with a shotgun blast to the head. In the aftermath, our Christian family blamed his lifelong struggle with crippling depression & subsequent suicide entirely upon his atheism (to which he confessed in his suicide letters). Their belief was that because he had “turned his back on God” he had no choice but to die because ‘his life was so empty/void without faith in God’s hope & salvation’. 

    Maddening. 

  • Anony56

    You also get bipolar christians and shizophrenic christians and christians with anxiety disorders, just because you are an atheist does not mean you are more prone to mental health disorders.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X