Mental Health Stigma

Mental health stigmaTrusted Source refers to societal disapproval, or when society places shame on people who live with a mental illness or seek help for emotional distress, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or PTSD.

The pressure of mental health stigma can come from family, friends, coworkers, and society on a broader level. Groups can also politicize stigma. It can prevent people living with mental illness from getting help, fitting into society, and leading happy and comfortable lives.

Mental health stigma can come from stereotypes, which are simplified or generalized beliefs or representations of entire groups of people that are often inaccurate, negative, and offensive. They allow a person to make quick judgments about others based on a few defining characteristics, which they then apply to anyone in that group.

For instance, people living with depression are often stereotyped as lazy, while some judge those with anxiety as cowardly. 

Many people fear being labeled “crazy” for simply seeking support from a therapist. None of these characterizations are valid, and all of them are misinformed, cause pain, and prevent people from getting the help they need. 

An often politicized stereotypeTrusted Source about people with mental illness is that they are violent or dangerous. However, a small minority of people living with mental illness commit violent acts. They are actually 10 times more likelyTrusted Source to be victims of a crime,Trusted Source making them a vulnerable population we should be protecting instead of fearing.