How can I combat the stigma of mental illness in my community?

While researchers are working internationally to develop culturally-specific anti-stigma programs, there are steps to take to combat stigma in your community:
  • Recognize that most mental illnesses are disorders of the brain.
  • Be respectful of people with mental illness.
  • Don’t use disrespectful terms in referring to people with a mental illness, such as retarded, crazy, or lunatic.
  • Refer to a person, not just their illness, such as "a person who has schizophrenia" instead of "a schizophrenic."
  • Emphasize a person’s abilities and strengths rather than his disability or limitations.
  • Help dispel myths about mental illness.
  • Promote greater awareness of mental illness.
  • Encourage people to seek help for mental health problems.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.