Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness

Did you know that approximately 1 in 5 adults in the US experience mental illness in a given year? That’s 43.8 million people. Pretty shocking, isn’t it? The prevalence of mental illness is something that needs to be addressed and discussed more regularly.

Far too often, those who struggle with mental illness are also faced with the challenge of overcoming some kind of stigma. Stigma is defined as someone viewing you in a “negative way because you have a distinguishing characteristic or personal trait that’s thought to be a disadvantage” and it can take many forms, like bullying or rejection.

Stigma towards individuals with mental illness is especially damaging because it essentially adds to their struggle. Not only are they dealing with their disease, but they are also dealing with the negative stereotypes and prejudice that follows mental illness. In many cases, the stigma individuals with mental illness face prevent them from seeking treatment. In fact, only 41% of adults in the United States with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year.

Working to end stigma about anything is extremely difficult. However, talking about mental illness and spreading awareness is a big step in fighting stigma. By talking about it and bringing awareness to the subject, we can help those affected to understand that there is no shame in seeking help.

If you or someone you know is in need or interested in seeking help with mental illness, please visit the following resources:

United States: National Institute of Mental Health
Canada: Canadian Mental Health Association