Overcoming Mental Health Stigma

Stigma is still a significant obstacle for persons dealing with mental health conditions. But overwhelming evidence from medical research, many people still deny the existence of mental illness as a severe condition that should not be disregarded. The reluctance to speak openly about mental illness is fueled by various circumstances, from widespread misunderstandings to deliberate exclusion.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, more than half of people with mental illness do not receive treatment. Frequently, individuals avoid or postpone seeking treatment out of fear of being treated differently or losing their jobs and livelihood. That is because stigma, prejudice, and discrimination against people with mental illness continue to be significant issues.

Types of Stigma


People with mental illness are subjected to institutional stigma, which is more structural, involving government and commercial institutions policies that purposefully or accidentally limit chances for those with mental illnesses. Research into mental disease receives less money, for example, or there are fewer mental health treatments available compared to other types of health care.


One of the most pervasive forms of discrimination against someone who has a mental illness is what is known as “public stigma.” Those subjected to this kind of prejudice are less likely to seek therapy and have lower outcomes. Discrimination, decreased self-efficacy, and segregation is all consequences of public stigma.


The negative or discriminating views of others toward mental illness are referred to as “public stigma”. Internalized shame and other forms of self-shame are examples of self-stigma that people with mental illness experience.

Internalized stigma is related to significant emotional pain, a deficit in self-esteem, feelings of low self-worth, a decline in self-efficacy, and eventually, mental health problems. Internalized stigma, for example, may drive someone to avoid applying for a job because they believe they are ineligible for the position.

5 Ways to Overcome the Stigma

Educate yourself

Many people’s fear of mental illness stems from a lack of knowledge and awareness of the condition. While many people believe that all mental illnesses are the same, this is not entirely true. The intensity and symptoms of mental illnesses can vary widely, making it difficult to apply one treatment approach to all of them. For instance, treatments integrate medications such as suboxone to assist in recovery from addiction.

Further, depression is a severe condition that necessitates professional care. There are various ways to determine whether or not you or someone you know is suffering from clinical depression. Quick action is needed to correct the situation. A method of overcoming the stigma is demonstrating empathy to know if someone is suffering from depression.

Talk about it

The ability to express one’s ideas and opinions freely is one of the most valuable benefits of engaging in conversation. However, it would be best to exercise caution in the language you use. Use what you’ve learned and present a variety of reputable sources during the discussion.

Recognize negative messaging (negative media portrayal)

Mentally ill patients are stigmatized, marginalized, and excluded due to their mental condition. Psychiatry as a profession and the community is negatively impacted by the stigma attached to mental illness. Stigma impairs the well-being of the mentally ill by increasing their sense of isolation, which in turn worsens their condition.

Mental health advocates hold the media accountable for perpetuating stigma and discrimination against mental illness persons. Additionally, the media has created a massive collection of negative imagery, including some of the most horrible representations of mental illness and genuinely awful illustrations of mental treatments.

People with mental illnesses can recover and become valuable members of society, but television portrayals do nothing to persuade viewers. Characters with mental illness are usually depicted as socially isolated individuals who lack familial ties, employment, and a sense of self.

On the other hand, the media may be a valuable ally in challenging public biases, igniting public debate, and projecting good, human interest stories about people living with mental illness.


Be confident and assertive in your delivery if you’re speaking to a large audience or a small group of friends. To promote change, educate others about mental illness in a compassionate manner.

Making fun of someone who has a mental illness is harmful and only serves to further stigmatize and discriminate against those who have a mental illness. In addition to educating the public and removing stigma, speaking out may encourage others in a similar circumstance to get treatment. Remember to take care of yourself throughout this time. Do not feel that you have to engage in a fight every single day. Remember to ask for help when you need it. And don’t forget to treat yourself with kindness and self-care regularly.


Research suggests that the ideology of “empowerment” arose in response to the deficiencies of mental health care systems. People with mental health issues are empowered by the belief that they can take control of their own life, rely less on professionals, and take action on their behalf.