Experiencing Stigma

If you feel that you or someone that you care about is experiencing stigma, it's important that you feel supported to enable you to start tackling it.

Stigma can significantly worsen someone’s mental health problems,defining them as an illness rather than a person with a meaningful voice and contribution to make. It can make it difficult to access treatment and begin the journey to recovery and rebuilding their life.

Where can it happen?

  • In the workplace or when trying to get a job
  • At school or university
  • In public spaces and social settings
  • Within family and friendship circles
  • Self-stigma where a person believes the negative labels that society places on them
  • In the media through use of stigmatising language, stereotypes or characterisation of people with mental health problems on the television, insensitive reporting of mental health related stories in the news etc.
  • Within health services from health professionals and staff
  • When accessing public services such as transport, social security or housing.
  • At government / policy level through a lack of fair funding towards mental health services and lack of progress in developing and implementing policy and legislation around mental health.

The ways stigma can impact on someone’s life include:

  • Difficulty in getting / holding down a job
  • Social isolation from friends, family, community and social life
  • Being ‘labelled’ and defined by their illness and not by who they are as a person
  • Low self-esteem which further reduces desire to participate in social life or pursue goals
  • Reluctance to speak to anyone for help
  • Difficulty in accessing services and support
  • Physical health can be affected