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It’s Time to End the Stigma!
What is stigma?
Webster & Merriam Dictionary describe stigma as the following:
noun (plural stigmas or especially in sense 2 stigmata /-mətə, -ˈmɑːtə/): Mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person: the stigma of mental disorder to be a non-reader carries a social stigma.
Your Words are Powerful
- When we say someone is “crazy” or “that’s totally mental” we’re perpetuating stereotypes.
Avoid the verb “suffers” when discussing mental illness. Instead, choose, “lives with mental illness” or “is affected by mental illness.”
- Use “person first” vocabulary. When we say a person is schizophrenic, we make their mental illness fully define their identity. Instead, be clear that this is a disease that individuals manage and live with — “He is living with schizophrenia.”
- There are many phrases and terms; “crazy,” “nuts”, “psycho”, “schiz”, “retard” and “lunatic” that may seem insignificant, but really aren’t.
While there may be times when it is too challenging or simply not possible to politely correct someone else’s insensitive use of language, you can always watch your own. (From the BringChange2Mind Campaign)
What Can YOU do to End Stigma?
Learn and share the facts about mental health and illness.
- get to know people with personal experiences of mental illness
- speak up in protest when friends, family, colleagues or the media display false beliefs and negative stereotypes
- offer the same support to people when they are physically or mentally unwell
- don’t label or judge people with a mental illness, treat them with respect and dignity as you would anyone else
- don’t discriminate when it comes to participation, housing and employment
- talk openly of your own experience of mental illness. The more hidden mental illness remains, the more people continue to believe that it is shameful and needs to be concealed.
Join our ‘YES’ Campaign
If you are ready to end the stigma, join our ‘YES’ Campaign. It’s easy! Simply take a photo of yourself with a self designed sign that says “YES”, and e-mail it to our Marketing and Communications Coordinator. Along with the photo, you will be asked to submit a release of media.
Photos from the ‘YES’ Campaign will be used in upcoming Public Service Announcements to be released for Children’s Mental Health Day 2013.
Going Green for Mental Health
Are you interested in showing support for ending the stigma around mental health? Get in touch with our Marketing & Communications Manager, Courtney Bridges, to ask how you can plan a ‘Going Green’ event through our We Eliminate Stigma Together (WEST) campaign.