Stigma around mental health medication more harmful than you think


Graphic by Hannah Conn ’23

Whether or not to take medication for your mental health is already a big decision. Having to factor in what people might think or how to keep it secret is not something people should worry about. The stigma over mental health medication can be truly harmful and needs to end.

Someone who takes medication for their mental health might feel awkward when talking about it. They might worry that people will think they are “crazy” or judge them for being on medicine. 

“Stigmatized as “crazy pills” and “addictive toxins,” anxiolytics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers have been given a bad rap, and subsequently branded their consumers with a stigma as well,” Shape, a wellness online magazine, reports.

But people who need medications should feel no shame in taking their mental health seriously and wanting to live a more fulfilling life.

Medications like antidepressants or antipsychotics are often demonized. Taking these medications can overall improve someone’s quality of life and prolong their life.

This is why the stigma needs to end. You are not weak or crazy if you take medication for your mental health. Medication might not work for everyone yet, the people who take it really benefit from it.

“For many children and teens, antidepressants are an effective way to treat depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder or other mental health conditions. If these conditions aren’t treated effectively, your child may not be able to lead a satisfying, fulfilled life or do everyday activities,” Mayo Clinic reports.

Parents often shy away from medication worrying that their child can get better in other ways, like exercise or therapy. While this is true, medications like these are not normally prescribed on their own, the medication is normally paired with therapy.

Ending this stigma can save many lives. People are afraid to speak up about their struggles and seek help, being aware of this stigma.

— Ava Coyle

Ending this stigma can save many lives. People are afraid to speak up about their struggles and seek help, being aware of this stigma.

“The Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists stigma associated with mental illness and help-seeking as one of the primary risk factors for suicide,” Psychology Today said.

Mental health medication can truly help the kind of life you are living. Medication does not make all your issues go away but it does minimize the symptoms.

People who do not take medication for their mental health might not be able to perform everyday activities. Such as, doing their homework, going out with friends or taking a shower.

This is not to push anyone into taking medication, but there is no shame in it. The real shame is judging people for taking medication. It can truly save people’s lives and make their lives better and longer.