Awareness (Mental Health Myths vs. Facts)
False beliefs about mental illness can cause significant problems. Learn what you can do about stigma.
Stigma is when someone views you in a negative way because you have a distinguishing characteristic or personal trait that’s thought to be, or actually is, a disadvantage (a negative stereotype). Unfortunately, negative attitudes and beliefs toward people who have a mental health condition are common.
Stigma can lead to discrimination. Discrimination may be obvious and direct, such as someone making a negative remark about your mental illness or your treatment. Or it may be unintentional or subtle, such as someone avoiding you because the person assumes you could be unstable, violent or dangerous due to your mental health condition. You may even judge yourself.
Some of the harmful effects of stigma can include:
- Reluctance to seek help or treatment
- Lack of understanding by family, friends, co-workers or others you know
- Fewer opportunities for work, school or social activities or trouble finding housing
- Bullying, physical violence or harassment
- Health insurance that doesn’t adequately cover your mental illness treatment
- The belief that you’ll never be able to succeed at certain challenges or that you can’t improve your situation.