Someone you know is, right now, experiencing a mental health problem. Mental illness affects one in four of us every year, so it’s likely that at least one of your friends, family and colleagues are dealing with a mental health problem.
But still, too many people are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless as a result of their mental health problems. We all have a part to play in making it easier for people with mental health problems to make friends, work and lead a full life.
"To me, stigma is my work colleague telling me that I needed to get over myself. It made me feel like what I was going through was just in my head, that it didn’t matter, that I was a burden to other people."
To me, stigma is being in a relationship and my partner telling me “sort yourself out,” “there’s nothing wrong with you,” and telling me to “man up.” It’s made me not want to show emotion, or tell people how I feel. It's stopped me from being the person I need to be.
What does stigma feel like? Watch people talk about the negative attitudes and words of others, and the impact it's had on them:
How can I help?
You can help us create a society where mental health problems are not hidden in shame and secrecy. You can ensure your friend or relative is not afraid to speak out about their problems, or is left wondering where they can turn for help.
- Be careful with your language - using derogatory language to describe people with mental health problems can be really isolating.
- If you feel comfortable, you can challenge people when they say hurtful or negative things about people with mental health problems.
- Let your friends know that they can open up: ask them how they're feeling every once in a while.
- Make a pledge to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination.
- Find out about the small things you can do to support someone with a mental health problem.