Understanding the Stigma Around Mental Health


It is estimated that one in four people will at some point in their lives experience a mental health issue. Over the last 18 months, I have battled with my own mental health difficulties and unfortunately had to watch a friend succumb to hers too. The stigma associated with these mental health problems can be almost as difficult to manage as the illness itself.

Understanding the Stigma Around Mental Health

1. How does stigma affect those with mental health issues?

Understanding the Stigma Around Mental Health

• Stigma can act as barrier to those trying to seek support as they fear being labelled as "mentally ill".

• Not getting the much needed support can cause feelings of isolation and make the experience of mental health difficulties worse.

• Depression, anxiety, psychosis, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder are seen as lifelong labels which can mark the person experiencing these as "different" from society.

2. What is Stigma?

Understanding the Stigma Around Mental Health

• Stigma thrives on lack of knowledge and understanding, negative attitudes and ignorant or discriminatory behavior.

• Stigma can take on many different forms such as hurtful words, social exclusion and higher insurance costs.

• Stigma in relation to mental health involves the use of negative words or labels to identify people with mental health issues as different.

3. What is the impact of Stigma?

Understanding the Stigma Around Mental Health

• Feelings of shame, hopelessness and isolation overcome the individual.

• Fewer opportunities for socialization and employment due to stereotyping, prejudice or discrimination.

• Reluctance to ask for help to receive treatment.

4. What can be done?

Understanding the Stigma Around Mental Health

Educate yourself on mental health difficulties and their associated recovery processes


Recognize the growing number of people who experience mental health difficulties. 25% of people experience some sort of mental health difficulty at some point in their lives, so the chances are you do know someone suffering even if you aren't suffering yourself.

Challenge stigma and discrimination when you see it or hear it

Start a conversation with a friend, family member, loved one or co-worker on mental health

Understanding the Stigma Around Mental Health
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Most Helpful Girl

  • DorkVader
    This is a great MyTake! I consider myself an open, accepting person and even I have recently had to face the stigmas I have about my own depression. I kept trying to downplay it, even the fact I'm in therapy and on meds. I knew I needed help with it, but I have had a hard time accepting the length, duration and impact this has had on me and my life.

    Anyway, thanks for a great myTake!
    Is this still revelant?
    • DorkVader

      Thanks for MHO

    • Anonymous

      No problem!

Most Helpful Guy

  • JimRSmith
    Well said, and I expect the percentage of people who know somebody who is struggling with some of the above, either known or not known to them, is higher than a lot of people would expect.
    Is this still revelant?
    • JimRSmith

      Thanks for MHO

    • Anonymous

      No problem 😊

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • Darcia
    I love this Take. It’s great to educate those around us about mental health. I suffer with this and it makes it harder and harder to communicate with others. But with a stigma going around no one wants to lend a helping hand. This has been the best myTake so far.
    • Anonymous

      Thank you so much for your kind words ❤️ I only wish everyone could understand more, it would be that bit less awful to deal with.

  • wankiam
    the stigma here in the uk has been well and truley challengend in recent times but that has lead us in another direction in some ways where simple teenage angst or getting down because of the pressures of life are addressed too freely using drugs so i sometimes wonder if that was part of a plan. great mytake though
  • crresss
    Its even worse when u have a hidden disability like dyslexia or dyscalculia or dyspraxia or pdd-nos (pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified) or autism or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity), nonverbal learning disorder, or something related to that; but the therapists mistakes it as a "mental illness" and forces a very wrong way of treatment.

    Maltreatment and misdiagnosis sometimes create such abhorrent experience that make us feel its better not to get treated than to seek help.

    Psychiatry and clinical psychology is yet a very backward subject. The therapists often rely on their own and vague guesswork than listening and observation. They are often good at handling emotional issues but they often are often ignorant about developmental and neural issues. They are also often obnoxiously terrible at spotting neutodegenerative symptoms. They also mostly rely on very outdated philosophical theories, and instead of using their common sense they often choose bookish knowledge or the status quo as they have been forever taught. Also often the therapists have same stigmatised attitude like uneducated people but due to their lucrative credentials and professional qualifications they can easily misuse their ignorance and even sometimes religious ideologies and superstitions.

    I think the field of psychology is updating but at an impractically ineffective speed.
  • SirRexington
    A large swath of people who suffer mental disabilities have a very difficult tkme coping. I can't hold down a job. I've tried for years...
    People say I should die for not contributing enough or that I should spend my life away somewhere from the rest of society. I've heard this all my life. There aren't that many good resources for people like me.
    Amazing my take thank you so much for putting it together I was talking to a colleague and we just don't even have a community going on. There are people living in the same household and they couldn't be more further apart nobody knows whats happening with the other every one is living such isolated lives to the point its awkward and if the ice isn't broken the tension builds its heartbreaking when you can't ask the person who is living with you for help. You know the person by name but aside from that you know nothing more. And then you hear this person is just another statistic and they are living with you. You saw them every day but did you? Coz you had no idea what is going on with them. Eye opening
  • KrakenAttackin
    What you are saying is true... but no one cares. Look at the male suicide rate in the U. S., it is at epidemic levels... but no one cares.

    The message from society is clear, "suck it up".
  • Manuel2
    It is easier said than done, as the media and movies make millions from people mental health
  • Good mytake.
  • SecretGardenBlood65
    Interesting take.
  • Anonymous
    Because of the stigma, people tell few people and ask for help from few people. The only safe people to them are often their therapists. I know people who lost friends because they had CANCER! At least for most mental illness, a pill and longterm therapy are paths to recovery. But to drop a friend who might die and you never see them again sounds so shallow. Mental illness stigma is tough. You might lose a job, or never get one. Lose a friend, husband, lover. You have to know you're on solid ground with a person before admitting a weakness. And sometimes you don't know UNTIL you do.