Help us Reduce Serious Mental Health Stigma
Many people with serious mental illness are twice as challenged. On one hand, they struggle with the symptoms and disabilities that result from the disease. On the other, they are challenged by the stereotypes and prejudice that result from misconceptions about mental illness. As a result of both, people with mental illness are robbed of the opportunities that define a quality life: good jobs, safe housing, satisfactory health care, and affiliation with a diverse group of people.
People who live with mental illnesses are among the most stigmatized groups in society. Over the last decade, public health interest in both the burden of mental illness and the hidden burden of mental health related stigma has grown. Organizations such as the World Health Organization, the WPA, and the World Association for Social Psychiatry, all recognized stigma as a major public health challenge. Growing support for stigma reduction is also evident in the number of government declarations, mental health system reviews, and action plans that have highlighted the disabling effects of stigma and the importance of reducing discrimination.
Why Is Reducing the Stigma of Mental Illness Important?
There are many reasons that challenging the stigma of serious mental illness is important. But none seem more compelling than the fact that nearly two-thirds of people who experience a mental illness never receive any type of professional help for their problems. The negative attitudes, fears, and stereotypes that surround mental illness are one of the largest barriers to people receiving professional help.