Stigma is made up of the everyday myths and stereotypes attached to a particular label, such as a mental health diagnosis. Stigma leads people to make negative assumptions about other people before getting to know them, their abilities, hopes and dreams. It creates misconceptions about what living with mental health challenges is like. When what we perceive mental illness to be is false, it makes recovery difficult.
The truth is mental health challenges are more common than you might think. More than half of us will experience a diagnosable mental health condition in our lifetime. There is no “us and them;” mental illness is simply part of the human experience.
Unfortunately, the majority of people don’t seek the help they need due to the stigma, shame and discrimination they face. Many fear being judged, and this can make it difficult for a person to open up about their mental health.
When stigma is removed, our family, loved ones and neighbors can heal and make important contributions to the community.