Here are some suggestions for ways to assist the person to deal with stigma:
- Encourage the person to develop their abilities, interests, and a sense of purpose, as this might increase their resilience to stigma.
- Let the person decide how they would like to respond to stigma and discrimination.
- Only encourage the person to take a stand against stigma and discrimination if this is not too stressful for them.
- Peer support groups where bipolar disorder is accepted can provide good buffers against stigma.
- There may be times when you need to help the person to distinguish their personal qualities and abilities from stigmatized views of mental illness. The person’s own stigma about mental illness can cause them to lose confidence and belief in their own abilities.
- Lack of confidence might prevent them from pursuing manageable opportunities and goals that could enrich their lives. If this is the case, and you have a close relationship with them, it might be an idea to tactfully raise this subject.
- When appropriate, remind the person that bipolar disorder is like other recurrent health conditions.
- If you have negative beliefs about mental illness, be careful not to pass these on to the person.