To stigmatise or discriminate against someone is to treat them unfairly with disgrace or disapproval.
What is stigma?
To discriminate against or stigmatise someone is to treat them unfairly, with disgrace or disapproval. People who are stigmatised are often labelled as ‘different’ and, as a result, are excluded and devalued by society.
Experiencing a mental health problem is hard for anyone to cope with. Seeking help to start the journey towards recovery and rebuilding one's life can be made much harder by unfair treatment and feelings of judgement.
People who experience mental ill health have to live with high levels of stigma. Nine out of 10 people in the UK living with mental health problems feel that stigma negatively affects their lives, whilst research in Northern Ireland has shown that mental illness evokes the most negative attitudes out of all disabilities (Equality Commission NI, 2011).
Stigma around mental health can be the result of:
It can operate on multiple levels including:
The effects of stigma on a person with mental health problems, as well as those close to them, are far-reaching, permeating daily life. It diminishes self-esteem and confidence, disrupts family relationships and social lives, and limits access to services and opportunities in education and employment. Perhaps most worryingly, it can prevent people from seeking the help and support they need.
Stigma can manifest itself in lots of different ways. Sometimes it's subtle, other times it's more obvious.Learn More
If you feel that you or someone you care about is experiencing stigma, it's important that you feel supported as you start tackling it.Learn More
Tackling stigma requires a collective voice to create a lasting, positive change in people’s attitudes and better inform the public of the facts.Learn More