Overcoming the Stigma That Unfairly Links Violence and Mental Illness

Mental Health & Addiction: Overcoming Stigma

Overcoming the Stigma That Unfairly Links Violence and Mental Illness

Because of internal and external stigma, many people with mental illness do not receive the treatment they need. wise, stigma can also impact an individuals’ quality of life in other ways, even when they’re in treatment or receiving support.

What Is Stigma?

Stigma is a set of unfair, negative beliefs about a certain group of people, such as people with mental health issues or addiction.

For example, people with these conditions may be unfairly viewed as unstable, violent, dangerous, or unreliable simply because of their mental health status and the stigma that accompanies it.

The stigma associated with mental health and addiction can lead to a variety of issues. Some of the possible effects of mental health stigma include:

  • discrimination in professional and social settings
  • lack of understanding from friends, family members, or colleagues
  • bullying
  • poor self-esteem
  • lack of confidence
  • reluctance to get professional help

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Types Of Stigma

Different types of mental health stigma can affect the life of someone living with a mental or behavioral health condition. Some of the types of stigma that may be encountered include:

Public Stigma

Public stigma is a group of beliefs held by the general public that can ultimately cause discrimination, prejudice, and stereotypes against people with mental health problems.

Structural Stigma

Structural stigma occurs when societal structures and policies prevent people with mental health conditions from having the same opportunities as those who do not have these conditions.

Health Practitioner Stigma

In some cases, health practitioners may make diagnosis and treatment decisions stereotypes, racial prejudices, or unfair beliefs about mental illness. This is known as “health practitioner stigma.”

Perceived Stigma

Perceived stigma is when people with mental illness believe that others see them in a negative light, whether or not these perceptions actually exist. This can be especially true for people with bipolar disorder and depression.


Self-stigma is when people with mental health conditions, including substance use disorder, internalize stereotypical negative beliefs related to public stigma. This internalized stigma can be a deep-seeded barrier to seeking care and support.

Stigma By Association

Stigma by association occurs when stigma is extended to friends and family members simply because of their relationship with an individual who has a mental health condition.

Label Avoidance

One of the most harmful types of mental health stigma is label avoidance, which leads people with mental health symptoms to avoid treatment because of fear that they will be labeled as mentally ill or unfit.

Overcoming Stigma

Stigma can become a significant obstacle to successful treatment for addiction or other mental health disorders. Stigma can also prevent people with these conditions from being as productive and fulfilled in their lives as they could be.

For this reason, combating mental health stigma should be a priority in the medical field, among individual patients, and in the general public.

Here are some strategies that can be used to overcome stigma:

1. Changing The Language

One of the most important strategies that can be used to overcome stigma in all circles is to change the way mental health and substance use disorders are discussed.

The language used to describe mental health and the people struggling with it makes a difference in the way these issues are perceived. For example, eliminating terms “addict” that define an individual by their disorder can go a long way toward eliminating stigma.

2. Educate

Many of the negative beliefs and stereotypes that exist about mental illness are the result of a lack of understanding, both among healthcare professionals and in the general public.

Educating people with regard to the truth about mental health, including the availability of effective treatments and the ability of people with mental illness to live productive and healthy lives, can reduce stigma significantly.

3. Face Stigma Head On

If you live with mental illness or addiction and are confronted with stigma, refuse to accept these negative beliefs as truth. Stand up for yourself. If the stigma is causing you to lose an important opportunity, consider reaching out for support or advocacy.

4. Share Your Story

One of the best things you can do to combat stigma is to share your story with others. When people see someone who is living a full, healthy life with mental illness, they’re less ly to subscribe to stereotypes.

Not only will this improve public perceptions of mental illness, but it will also be inspiring for others dealing with their own mental health issues.

People dealing with addiction or other mental health conditions should never allow stigma to stop them from getting the help they need. If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of mental illness, seek professional treatment regardless of stigma.

Источник: https://vertavahealth.com/blog/mental-health-addiction-overcoming-stigma/

Stigma and discrimination

Overcoming the Stigma That Unfairly Links Violence and Mental Illness

People with mental health problems say that stigma and discrimination can make their difficulties worse and make it harder to recover.

*Last updated: 4 October 2021

Mental health problems are common, affecting thousands of us in the UK. Despite this, there is still a strong stigma (negative attitude) around mental health. People with mental health problems can also experience discrimination (negative treatment) in all aspects of their lives.

This stigma and discrimination makes many people’s problems worse. It can comes from society, employers, the media, and even our own friends and family. You may even experience internalised stigma, where you come to believe the negative messages or stereotypes about yourself.

How do stigma and discrimination affect people with mental health problems?

Nearly nine ten people with mental health problems say that stigma and discrimination have a negative effect on their lives. 

We know that people with mental health problems are among the least ly of any group with a long-term health condition or disability to:

  • find work
  • be in a steady, long-term relationship
  • live in decent housing
  • be socially included in mainstream society.

Stigma and discrimination can also make someone’s mental health problems worse, and delay or stop them getting help. Social isolation, poor housing, unemployment and poverty are all linked to mental ill health. So stigma and discrimination can trap people in a cycle of illness.

You may face more than one type of stigma: for example, you may also be stigmatised because of your race, gender, sexuality or disability. This can make life even harder.

Why are people with mental health problems discriminated against?

There are many reasons for this discrimination, including:

  • stereotypes. Society can have stereotyped views about mental ill health. Some people believe people with mental health problems are dangerous, when in fact they are at a higher risk of being attacked or harming themselves than hurting other people.
  • the media. Media reports often link mental ill health with violence, or portray people with mental health problems as dangerous, criminal, evil, or very disabled and unable to live normal, fulfilled lives.

Challenge stigma

Time to Change campaigned to change the way people think and act about mental health problems. The campaign has now closed, but there is still plenty of useful information on their website about challenging stigma and discrimination when you see, hear or experience it.

They have tips for talking to someone about their mental health, which can be as simple as asking someone if they’re sure if they tell you they’re feeling fine. Showing someone there’s no shame or stigma in talking about how they’re feeling could make a huge difference.

They also have resources for your workplace or school if you want to help others understand mental health and challenge stigma.

In Scotland, the anti-stigma organisation See Me has ideas on challenging stigma and discrimination. They also have resources and activities you could use at work.

Join our network

If you want to do more campaigning around mental health issues, you could join OPEN, our personal experience network.

It’s an online community of people we ask to inform what we do, through anything from quick feedback on a social media post to participating in a research project.

We want to hear from people with a range of mental health experiences, whether yours is good, bad or something in between.

I'm being discriminated against — what can I do?

The Equality Act 2010 protects you from discrimination and lets you challenge it. It makes it illegal to discriminate against people with mental health problems when you:

  • are at work, applying for a job, or leaving one
  • use services such as hotels, restaurants, public transport, hospitals, local councils and places of worship
  • deal with organisations carrying out public functions such as tax collection or law enforcement
  • buy or rent property.

To be protected, you need to show your mental health problem is a disability. You may not think of yourself as disabled, but the Equality Act could still protect you if you fit its definition of disability. You need to show you have a long-term mental health problem that makes your everyday life substantially difficult. Mind has more information on what this could mean for you.

There are different ways you can experience discrimination, including:

  • direct discrimination: if you’re treated worse than others because of your mental health problem
  • indirect discrimination: if a person or organisation has arrangements in place that put you at an unfair disadvantage
  • discrimination arising from your disability: if you’re treated badly because of something that happens because of your mental health problem, for example if you’re given a warning at work for taking time off for medical appointments
  • harassment: if you’re intimidated, offended or humiliated
  • victimisation: if you’re treated badly because you’ve made a complaint.

There are different things you can do if you’re experiencing discrimination. In generally, it’s best to try these steps to resolve things.

  1. Talk to someone informally. Speak to the person or organisation who has discriminated against you. This can be a quick and easy way to resolve things.
  2. Make a formal complaint. If an informal conversation doesn’t resolve things, you can make a formal complaint. Try to do it in writing if possible. Give a clear account of what went wrong and what you’d to happen, such as an apology, explanation or better service in future. Your complaint should be properly investigated and you should be told the outcome.
  3. Complain to the ombudsman. If your formal complaint doesn’t change things, you can take your complaint to an ombudsman. Mind has more information on which ombudsman to contact in England and Wales and how they work. There are different ombudsmen for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  4. Make a legal challenge. If you’re not able to resolve things through the ombudsman, you may want to make a legal challenge.

You don’t have to take any of these steps on your own. You can ask a friend or relative to help or get help from a professional advocate.

Further resources and information

The Equality Advisory and Support Service can help and advise you if you’ve been discriminated against.

Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) can advise you if you think you’ve been discriminated against at work.

Civil Legal Advice (CLA) can tell you if you’re eligible for legal aid if you’re making a legal challenge.

Источник: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/s/stigma-and-discrimination

Overcoming Stigma of Mental Illness

Overcoming the Stigma That Unfairly Links Violence and Mental Illness

Mental illness is among the most common health conditions in the United States. A recent survey by the CDC estimates that 11.2% of all American adults reported regularly feeling worry and anxiety. And 4.

7% reported frequently experiencing sadness or symptoms of depression. In fact, more than 50% of American adults will need treatment for a mental health issue at some point during their lifetime.

And one in 25 are currently living with a serious mental illness – including thought disorders, bipolar disorder and major depression. 

“The first thing we have to be willing to do is to talk about it —the stigma, the fear, the embarrassment, the ignorance,” explained Carole Boye, Community Alliance CEO.  “These are still the biggest barriers for people reaching out for the help they need and getting the help that they need.”

Stigma is Far Too Common

Considering how common mental health issues are – and given the rise in mental health diagnoses during the pandemic – you would expect that our society would be more accepting and supportive. Unfortunately, there is still a strong social stigma attached to mental illness.

As a society, we still harbor prejudice and stereotypes about mental illness. That means those experiencing mental health issues face a double challenge. Not only are these individuals burdened with a mental health diagnosis, but they also continue to experience discrimination and unfair treatment in all aspects of their lives.

It’s especially unfortunate when stigmatization comes from those they depend upon for support.

Stop Judging, Start Healing

“Breaking the silence is probably more important than ever because due to this pandemic an overwhelming number of people are really struggling with something that they’ve never dealt with before,” Boye continued.

 “Something has happened to us this past year and it has made an imprint on our psyches, on our mental health. It’s affected our mental health – individually and collectively – and we’ve got to be upfront about that.


Mental illness stigma can lead to feelings of self-consciousness and shame. And it can prevent people living with mental illness from reaching out for help, gaining support from family and friends, and leading happy and purposeful lives.

Harmful effects of stigma can include:

  • Being misunderstood, judged and undervalued by family, friends, co-workers and neighbors
  • Social isolation
  • Difficulty being in a steady, long-term relationship
  • Struggles to secure a job
  • Fewer educational opportunities
  • Trouble finding housing
  • Harassment, bullying or physical violence 
  • Medical insurance that doesn’t sufficiently cover treatment for mental health
  • Feeling you can’t improve your situation or overcome certain life challenges
  • Reluctance to seek professional help

It’s Okay to Not be Okay

Community Alliance is dedicated to supporting those with mental illness, including breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness.

This advocacy is so fundamental to the organization that we’ve named our annual benefit ‘Breaking the Silence’, for this important purpose. “The fundamental message of ‘Breaking the Silence’ is talking about mental illness.

  We need to acknowledge the challenges that people have experienced not only this year, but in the future.  We need to tell people that it’s okay not to be okay,” Boye affirmed. “It’s important that people know that there is support and there are resources available to them.

A mental health diagnosis doesn’t mean that you’re going to be in therapy for the rest of your life. And it doesn’t mean that you must own that diagnosis for the rest of your life. Recovery is achievable.”

4 Ways You Can Make a Positive Impact in Breaking the Silence

Research reveals that the best way to challenge stigma is through understanding. And that includes:

  • Education – Take advantage of learning opportunities to educate yourself and others. 
  • Advocacy – Choose empowerment over shame. This includes fighting against self-stigma.
  • Contact and Compassion – Spread positivity. Hope and healing can begin with you.
  • Conversations – Be conscious about how you speak about mental illness and be willing to discuss your own mental health challenges.

About Breaking the Silence at Community Alliance

Breaking the Silence has become one of the region’s largest community education events, supporting increased awareness and understanding about mental illness.

 This annual event has showcased nationally recognized advocates and celebrities who have been directly touched by major mental illness and have broken their own silence to share their talents and their message of hope and recovery.

This year, the event will include guests Nic and David Sheff, who you may recognize from their biographical book and film, Beautiful Boy. Proceeds from this event directly support those facing mental health challenges and served by Community Alliance.

Help is Within Reach

At Community Alliance, we offer a full range of integrated health services including primary and psychiatric care, mental health and substance use counseling, rehabilitation and employment services, supportive housing, community, family and peer supports, and more.


Breaking the Silence

Psychiatric and Counseling Services

Assertive Community Treatment

Family and Peer Support

Community Support

Rehabilitation Services

Safe Harbor Peer Crisis Services



Источник: https://community-alliance.org/breaking-the-silence-is-more-important-than-ever/

Discrimination and mental health

Overcoming the Stigma That Unfairly Links Violence and Mental Illness

Sometimes it can be difficult to prove discrimination. It is important to collect evidence and keep a record of what has happened.

For example, if you feel someone is harassing you at work, keep a diary of what people say, who said it and when.

Try to sort things out informally

You can try to sort out your problem informally first. This could involve talking to the people who have discriminated against you. You could write them a letter. Remember to keep a note of any conversations or meetings you have.

If you try to sort things out informally you might miss the time limit for taking legal action. It is important to bear this in mind when you are deciding what to do and your next steps.

Grievance procedure

You could try raising your concerns through your employer’s dispute procedure. Especially if informal action doesn’t work. This is called ‘bringing a grievance’.

The Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has produced a code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures.You can find it here: www.acas.org.uk/acas-code-of-practice-on-disciplinary-and-grievance-procedures

The code of practice explains how employers should handle complaints at work. An employer or employee may not follow this code. In this case you could go to an employment tribunal.

Employment tribunal

You can take legal action to get an employment tribunal to look into your case.

The tribunal is a court. They can decide if someone has discriminated against you. The tribunal will sometimes award you compensation.

There is a strict time limit for asking the employment tribunal to look at your case. You have three months minus one day.

This means that if someone discriminated against you on 13th March, you have until 12th June to take action.

You must tell ACAS that you intend to make a claim to the tribunal. You’ll be offered the chance to try and settle the dispute without going to court by using ACAS’s free Early Conciliation Service.

Conciliation is when an independent person talks to both you and your employer about your dispute. It gives you the chance to come to an agreement without having to go to tribunal.

If early conciliation doesn’t work, ACAS will send you an early conciliation certificate – you can use this when you make your claim to the tribunal.

You will have a minimum of 1 calendar month from the date of receipt of the certificate to make a claim to the employment tribunal.

In some cases, you might have longer than 1 month to make a claim to the employment tribunal. Working out the exact time limit can be complicated. You might want to get legal advice.

You can read more about employment tribunals and how to apply for one here: www.gov.uk/employment-tribunals

ACAS has produced a guide to asking questions at work if you think someone has discriminated against you. Using this will help you get evidence together before going to an employment tribunal. You can get a copy of the guide at: www.acas.org.uk/acas-code-of-practice-on-disciplinary-and-grievance-procedures

If you want advice on employment tribunals, you can contact the ACAS helpline for free advice. You can find their details in the ‘Useful contacts’ section at the bottom of this page.

Taking action in cases involving service providers

If you think a service provider has discriminated against you, you can take this to the County Court.

You have a strict time limit of six months minus one day to do this.

You should bear this in mind if you try to sort out the problem informally. You may run time to take your problem to the County Court if you do so.

How do I make a complaint about discrimination from the NHS?

If you feel that your GP or another NHS professional has discriminated against you because of your mental illness you can make a complaint.

For more information look in our factsheet, ‘Complaints — NHS and social services’ by clicking here. We have some template complaint letters at the back of the factsheet which you may want to use.

If you are on a low income you might be able to get legal aid to pay for specialist legal advice.

This is called representation. This is when someone who is legally trained argues your case.

Legal Aid is available for discrimination cases. To get legal aid, you usually need to show you cannot afford to pay for legal costs and your problem is serious. Legal aid doesn’t cover other kinds of employment problems.

Civil Legal Advice can tell you if you can get legal aid. You can also check this on their website. If you can get legal aid, they can give you details of lawyers who will help legal aid clients. You can find their details in the ‘Useful contacts’ section at the bottom of this page.

The Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) can provide advice on discrimination issues. You can find their details in the ‘Useful contacts’ section at the bottom of this page.

You can find more information about ‘Legal advice’ by clicking here.

From the 26th July 2017 you will no longer have to pay any fees to go to an employment tribunal. Before then you had to pay a fee depending on the type of claim you were making.

The form you have to fill in to go to an employment tribunal may still say you have to pay a fee. But this is not correct. The forms may be updated to make this clear.

The County Court costs vary, depending on how much compensation you are asking for.

You will have to pay a small amount to make your complaint to the court.

If you lose your case, you may have to pay the costs of the service that you were complaining about. This could be very expensive, so it is important to get legal advice before making a claim.

I think my time limit has run out, what can I do?

You will need to get specialist advice as soon as possible.

If there is a good reason why you missed the time limit, you can sometimes have it extended. However, this is quite rare.

You should always try to make sure that you act within the time limits.

An employer or service may have discriminated against you over a period of time. In that case the time limit may start from the last time someone discriminated against you.

Usually, the time limit will start from the date of each act of discrimination. It is best to talk to a specialist as soon as you can to make sure you don’t miss a time limit.

Источник: https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/rights-restrictions/mental-health-laws/discrimination-and-mental-health/

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