Trending topics

Latest News

Are You Discriminating?

Unfortunately, discrimination against people with mental illness is not uncommon. When you view someone critically due to a distinguishing characteristic or a trait perceived to be a disadvantage is stigma.

Discrimination because of stigma can be as subtle as avoiding a person you assume could be unstable, violent or dangerous due to their mental illness. These types of judgments usually are from a lack of understanding rather than information based on facts.

The following are ways stigma can be detrimental

  • Reluctance to seek help or treatment
  • Lack of understanding by family, friends, co-workers or others
  • 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 succeed at certain challenges or that you can’t improve your situation

and here are 7 ways you can address stigma

  1. Know the facts. Educate yourself about mental illness including substance use disorders.
  2. Be aware of your attitudes and behavior. Examine your own judgmental thinking, reinforced by upbringing and society.
  3. Choose your words carefully. The way we speak can affect the attitudes of others.
  4. Educate others. Pass on facts and positive attitudes; challenge myths and stereotypes.
  5. Focus on the positive. Mental illness, including addictions, is only part of anyone’s larger picture.
  6. Support people. Treat everyone with dignity and respect; offer support and encouragement.
  7. Include everyone. It’s against the law to deny jobs or services to anyone with these health issues.

Learn the facts and practical strategies you can put into practice every day with this interactive review.