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).
- The educational information on this website encourages the use of positive images to refer to people with mental illness and underscores the reality that mental illness can be successfully treated.
- Do you know that an estimated 44 million Americans experience a mental disorder in any given year?
- Do you know that stigma is not a matter of using the wrong word or action?
- Do you know that stigma is about disrespect and using negative labels to identify a person living with mental illness?
- Do you know that stigma is a barrier that discourages individuals and their families from seeking help?
- Do you know that many people would rather tell employers they committed a petty crime and served time in jail than admit to being in a psychiatric hospital?
- Do you know that stigma can result in inadequate insurance coverage for mental health services?
- Do you know that stigma leads to fear, mistrust, and violence against people living with mental illness and their families?
- Do you know that stigma can cause families and friends to turn their backs on people with mental illness?
- Do you know that stigma can prevent people from getting access to needed mental health services?
- Do use respectful language
- Do emphasize abilities, not limitations.
- Do tell someone if they express a stigmatizing attitude.
- Don’t portray successful persons with disabilities as super human.
- Don’t use generic labels such as retarded, or the mentally ill.
- Don’t use terms like crazy, lunatic, manic depressive, or slow functioning.