Though mental illnesses are experienced by countless individuals across the globe, many continue to suffer from stigmatization due to their illness. Stigmatizing attitudes and behaviours result in discrimination against individuals who live with a mental illness, producing obstacles at work, within families and communities at large. Stigma can take several forms:
Self-Stigma:Stigma involves a number of interrelated components, any or all of which can be targeted for anti-stigma interventions. People who have a mental illness may accept cultural stereotypes and avoid social situations (such as employment, friendships, or help-seeking) where their illness may be identified.
Public Stigma: Public stigma involves the negative and stereotypical beliefs that members of the public hold toward those with a mental illness that may cause them to treat them in a discriminatory manner.
Structural Stigma:Structural stigma refers to the way in which organizations and social structure operate to create social inequities for people with a mental illness. An example of structural inequity is the poor availability of mental health services.
Reducing stigma requires a change in behaviours and attitudes toward acceptance, respect, and the equitable treatment of people with mental illnesses. Organizations like the Global Anti-Stigma Alliance (GASA) and anti-stigma programs around the world continue to work towards this goal.
ACCESS TO RESOURCES
The WPA Stigma Section and the Global Anti-Stigma Alliance are pleased to offer access to the following resources. Visit the links below for further info.