The Mental Health Commission of Canada reports that 60% of people with a mental health problem or illness won’t seek help for fear of being labelled mentally ill. The Commission also says that “people living with mental health disorders often say the stigma they encounter is worse than the illness itself.”
Sometimes people with a mental disorder can take the feelings generated by the stigma and discrimination to heart, resulting in lowered self-esteem, self-stigma (believing the negative things people say about them), guilt and shame. As a result, people do not seek the help they need.
For young people struggling with mental illness, the problem is compounded because they are at a sensitive time in their lives, when many are embarrassed about the way they appear to others.
Learning more about mental health and mental illness is a crucial step in dispelling stigma, stopping prejudice and promoting early identification and effective treatment of mental conditions.
What can you do about stigma and discrimination?