art by: Jerome Lawrence shadow voices: finding hope in mental illness
 
Stigma

Stigma is not just a matter of using the wrong word or action. Stigma is about disrespect. It is the use of negative labels to identify a person living with mental illness. Stigma is a barrier. Fear of stigma, and the resulting discrimination, discourages individuals and their families from getting the help they need. An estimated 22 to 23 percent of the U.S. population experience a mental disorder in any given year, but almost half of these individuals do not seek treatment (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2002; U.S. Surgeon General, 2001).

Did you know...

  • an estimated 44 million Americans experience a mental disorder in any given year?

  • stigma is not a matter of using the wrong word or action?

  • stigma is about disrespect and using negative labels to identify a person living with mental illness?

  • stigma is a barrier that discourages individuals and their families from seeking help?

  • many people would rather tell employers they committed a petty crime and served time in jail, than admit to being in a psychiatric hospital?

  • stigma can result in inadequate insurance coverage for mental health services?

  • stigma leads to fear, mistrust, and violence against people living with mental illness and their families?

  • stigma can cause families and friends to turn their backs on people with mental illness?

  • stigma can prevent people from getting access to needed mental health services?

Used by permission of SAHMSA National Mental Health Information Center

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Stigma in other cultures