Mental illness may be difficult to live with, but the stigma associated with it can be even more challenging. It’s time to let the light in to shine on those of us working hard every day to make the most of the hand that mental illness has dealt us. We all have the power to be stigma warriors. It’s time to come together to stop stigma.
Raise your voice
To stop stigma, we need to speak up. Research has shown that the most effective way to fight stigma is for those of us living with mental illness to come out loud and proud, since it is contact with regular people with mental illness that has the greatest effect on people’s stigmatized attitudes.
If you want to reach a wider audience than you can on your own blog, these posts have suggestions for places where you can share your story.
These are some of the organizations that promote dialogue around mental health stigma on a broader scale.
Posts on stigma
These posts on Mental Health @ Home focus on the issue of stigma.
- Alienation and Brutality: looks at the documentary Alien Boy and the police brutality that killed a man with schizophrenia
- #BellLetsTalk – What if the elephant in the room could speak? – a look at what’s not getting talked about on this mental health awareness day
- Book review: No One Cares About Crazy People – a compelling account of how the system failed not only the writer’s son but centuries worth of people with mental illness
- Disclosing mental illness at work: The good, the bad, and the ugly – I have experienced all three since I chose from the beginning to be open about my illness
- How can we fight stigma most effectively? – a look at what research tells us about stigma, based on Patrick Corrigan’s book The Stigma Effect
- How do you respond to stigmatized language? – when you encounter stigma, is it better to fight back or ignore it?
- How Much Do You Internalize Stigma? – Stigma is all around us, but how much do you let it influence your own identity?
- Legislated stigma – my story of experiencing stigma as a result of health professions legislation in my province
- Mental illness and employment discrimination – Employers aren’t legally allowed to discriminate, but that doesn’t stop it from happening
- NIMBYism and mental health housing – Not-in-my-backyard attitudes are just another form of stigma
- Should people in mental health crisis be handcuffed? – my encounter with a local police force that as standard practice handcuffs anyone being taken to hospital because of mental health crisis
- Stigma and the pathologizing normal experience – The documentary The Age of Anxiety suggests that almost everyone would meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder, which is just another form of stigma
- TED Talks on mental health stigma
- The Health Professions Act and the fight against stigma – speaking up against mental illness stigma enshrined in provincial legislation
- Why is Netflix jumping aboard the stigma train? – The documentary Take Your Pills offers a very skewed look at the stimulant medications used to treat ADHD
- Why psychosis scares people – a look at the stigma surrounding psychosis
Stigma in health care
One would hope that at least the realm of health care would be stigma-free, but sadly, that is far from being the case.
- Adventures in stigma in the ER
- Early Insane Asylums – Bedlam and Beyond
- Is there something wrong with behavioural health?
- No, We’re Not “Drug-seeking”
- The “Attention-Seeking” Label and the Attitude it Reflects
Stigma and violence
Sadly, there are still people who believe that mental illness increases the risk of becoming violent. This is especially apparent when politicians blame gun violence on mental illness. The reality is that people with mental illness are no more likely than anyone else to become violent, and are actually at increased risk of being victims of violence.
- Are “Psycho Killers” Psychotic?
- Dead if you do, dead if you don’t? Weighing the risks & benefits of medications
- Prescription for Murder