Mental Wellness Month: Breaking Stigma

Mental Wellness Month: Breaking Stigma

January 23, 2023

We give so much every day to our community and pets. It becomes critical that we stop and make sure we are also focused on our wellbeing to ensure that we can continue to provide important, passionate care. VetCor is committed to the health of our healers (you!) and care of the caretakers (you!). In consideration of Mental Wellness Month, VetCor wants to share some tips for breaking stigma around mental health. 

If you have a mental illness or condition, do not equate yourself with it. You are not an illness. So instead of saying "I'm bipolar," say "I have bipolar disorder." Instead of calling yourself "a schizophrenic," say "I have schizophrenia." Stigma can often foster isolation and self-doubt. If you have a mental illness, you may be reluctant to tell anyone about it. Your family, friends, clergy, or members of your community can offer you support if they know about your mental illness. Reach out to people you trust for the compassion, support and understanding you need. You are not in this alone.

Screening for mental health conditions should be just as normal as screening for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or any other chronic health condition, this is part of breaking the stigma around mental health. You can take a mental health screening from the comfort of your own home at This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. Always be sure to follow-up with a psychologist, therapist, or your family physician. 

Dealing with Anxiety
Did you know that anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in America? While some anxiety is normal, anxiety disorders cause people to feel so distressed that it affects their day-to-day lives. Feeling nervous or anxious is never fun.

But for some, it’s an everyday occurrence, even when there’s seemingly nothing to worry about. Could you be suffering from an anxiety disorder?

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) causes people to have excessive anxiety and worry. Other symptoms include restlessness, fatigue, irritability, and sleep problems. If you are feeling anxious most days for at least six months, you may have GAD.
  • Panic disorder manifests in recurring unexpected panic attacks, which are sudden periods of intense fear that last a few minutes. During a panic attack, you might experience a pounding heart, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, and feelings of dread. Panic attacks are often brought on by triggers, such as feared objects and situations.
  • Social anxiety disorder involves intense fear of social or performance situations. Social anxiety is typically focused on the fear of being judged by others. This can cause sufferers to avoid social situations.

Anxiety disorders can be treated with medication and psychotherapy. If you are struggling, reach out to a doctor or mental health professional for help.

Dealing with Grief
We all experience grief in our lives and it can affect your everyday life. But you’re not alone, and there are ways to cope.

Everyone reacts differently to feelings of loss, but research shows that people can recover over time with the help of healthy habits and social support.

What are some concrete ways to deal with grief and break the stigma around the effects of grief on our lives?

  • Talk about it. Bottling up your sadness or trying to forget what has happened won’t help and can lead to feeling isolated. Speak to a trusted friend or family member to help process your feelings and remember the person or pet you’ve lost.
  • Take care of yourself physically. When you’re feeling depressed, it’s easy to let self-care fall by the wayside. But eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep can help your mental health too.
  • Join a support group. It can help to spend time with people going through the same thing as you. And you’ll learn ways to cope from others.
  • Start seeing a therapist or psychologist. A trained professional can not only listen but also provide support and concrete strategies to help you. Therapy can help build resilience as you deal with grief.

There is no set time period to grieve – each person is different.

If your grief does not get better over time, and you experience extreme weight loss, fatigue, or suicidal thoughts, your grief may be turning into depression. Reach out to a therapist or psychiatrist for help.

The employee assistance program (EAP) offered to VetCor team members supports both the mental and emotional wellbeing of employees and their family members. This benefit includes counseling, therapy, and online resources to help manage depression, anxiety, and stress. If you are a team member please review our benefits guide for more information.

In addition to the EAP, there are many additional companies that provide virtual mental health and take insurance–here is a resource to investigate more options. Coverage varies by plan, so make sure to check your plan details to see what coverage you have or if your plan has a preferred provider. Many of these providers also accept cash payments if your plan doesn’t cover them. Help is available with just a click!


Written by: Saajan Bhakta, PhD (Psychology), Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional, Director of Wellness & Transitions