According to the National Institutes of Health “Public stigma is the reaction that the general population has to people with mental illness. Self-stigma is the prejudice which people with mental illness turn against themselves. Both public and self-stigma may be understood in terms of three components: stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination.”
And according to Psychology Today “People with mental health difficulties remain among the most stigmatized groups in the world today. In half of U.S. states, admitting to a history of mental illness can lead to loss of a driver’s license, inability to serve on a jury or run for office, or even potentially loss of custody of a child.”
If we can remove the additional stress of stigma in the workplace, it’s not only good for employees struggling with mental illness, it can also be great for their co-workers too.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the harmful effects of stigma can include:
- Reluctance to seek help or treatment.
- Lack of understanding by family, friends, co-workers or others.
- Fewer opportunities for work, school, or social activities or trouble finding housing.
- Bullying, physical violence or harassment.
- Health insurance that doesn’t adequately cover mental illness treatment.
- The belief that you’ll never succeed at certain challenges or that you can’t improve your situation.
- Talk openly about mental health.
- Educate your workforce.
- Be conscious of the type of language you use Treat physical and mental illness equally Show greater compassion.
- Choose empowerment over shame.
- Be honest about treatment.
The Cure Stigma Manifesto, from NAMI
Stigma is 100% curable. Compassion, empathy and understanding are the antidote. Your voice can spread the cure. Join NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Together we can #CureStigma.
Creating A Culture That Embraces Mental Health
One of the most powerful steps you can take, and one that can create all kinds of additional benefits and opportunities, is to make your workplace a champion for mental health where these issues can be talked about openly and without prejudice, judgement, or stigma. Learn more.