Creating a Stigma-Free Squad: Tips for Dispelling Mental Health Stigma

People living with a mental health challenge often face the additional challenge of stigma in everyday life. Many people say that the stigma and discrimination they experience in their families and communities pose a greater challenge to their quality of life than other obstacles they face when it comes to their mental health.

This stigma can also make people hesitant to reach out for support for themselves or for a loved one. In fact, it is one of the primary barriers to people seeking and receiving treatment. Fear of being hurt or judged because of stigma keeps family members from sharing their needs with each other.

When gathering with loved ones, friends, family and community members this season, or throughout the year during cultural, family or holiday gatherings, you can help dispel mental health stigma with your squad when opportunities arise.

Here are some easy ways to start:

  • Learn more about the stigma of mental illness with the Each Mind Matters Myths & Facts tip sheet here, and check out our “Say This, Not That” tip sheet here.
  • Use people first language when discussing mental health. For example, say “people with mental health experiences,” not “mentally ill people.” Avoid using stigmatizing words like “crazy,” “insane” or “mentally ill.” Learn more about words that are stigmatizing and people-first language here.
  • Share videos, blogs, or photos from on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to get your friends talking.

We can all help create more open and supportive communities by simply starting a conversation about mental health this season. We invite you to start creating your stigma-free squad now by sharing this blog with others, and continue to follow our holiday blog series, Caring for Yourself and Others: A Holiday Support Guide, this month. Next up: Being a Bright Spot for Others: Being an Ally for Friends and Family this Season.

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