Disgrace. Shame. Mistrust. These are words that go hand in hand with stigma. And even though scientific research has shown otherwise, mental illness and addiction are still seen by many through a distorted lens as forms of indulgence, or weakness, or flaws in a person's character.
Together we can reduce stigma and create positive change. The goals of the Stand Up to Stigma public awareness campaign are to:
- Educate the public about the realities of mental health problems and addiction.
- Offer steps we can all take to help reduce stigma.
- Encourage people who need help to seek it without shame or fear.
- Help increase empathy and understanding in our communities.
Among the many heartbreaking outcomes of stigma are silence and isolation. The result is that people in great pain remain quiet for fear of being judged. As their isolation grows, the people in their lives become less willing to ask what's wrong.
The cycle perpetuates itself mainly because it prevents people from doing the one thing that will help the most: seek treatment.
Mental illness and addiction are real medical illnesses, just like heart disease, cancer, or diabetes.
We believe that through education, empathy, and encouragement, we can Stand Up to Stigma together so that people with mental illness and addiction can get the help they need and stand as equals in our society.