Dealing with Stigma

Shame and stigma are the number one reason why people with a mental illness don’t seek help, support or treatment. Dealing with stigma can be challenging. But you can make a difference! Here are some ways how.

  • Share your story and your experiences when you're ready. Make people confront their preconceptions with the amazing person you are. #MYMTips

  • Get the facts and use them. Stats are a great way to show people how important an issue is. #MYMTips

  • Talk to someone you trust. It can be hard dealing with stigma alone. Fight it as a group. #MYMTips

  • Know when to walk away. Some people won't be convinced, no matter what you say. Practice self-care and distance yourself. #MYMTips

  • Know your rights. Even if people are stigmatizing, you have protections under the law. #MYMTips

  • Start with yourself. Be thoughtful about choice of words. Use accurate & sensitive words when talking about people w mental illness. #MYMTips

  • Educate others when possible by sharing articles, information or something to inspire change. #MYMTips

  • Get creative and express yourself through writing, art, poetry or other mediums to speak out against stigma. #MYMTips

  • Join an anti-stigma cause or volunteer for a mental health organization. #MYMTips

  • Participate in summits, conferences or community events that are focused on anti-stigma initiatives. #MYMTips

  • If you see something in the media that perpetuates stigma, speak up! Call or write the writer or publisher to let them know. #MYMTips

  • Don't assume you know how someone feels. Ask questions and listen without judgment. Ask if they've seen a counsellor. #MYMTips

  • Stop viewing stigmatizing material when possible to limit the negative impacts it can have on your perceptions of mental illness. #MYMTips

  • If a friend is behaving in unusual ways, don't judge them. Talk to them or ask for help in helping them. #MYMTips

  • Many people don't get help for mental illness due to stigma. But the sooner you get help, the sooner you can start recovering. #MYMTips

  • When a friend faces mental health issues, make them feel comfortable, remind them u are there to listen & that u care about them #MYMTips

  • Getting help from a professional can be scary, especially if you're not sure what it involves. Learn what you can expect. #MYMTips

  • Don't be ashamed of having a mental illness. It is not your fault. Reach out and get help like you would for a flu or diabetes. #MYMTips

  • Challenge gender stereotypes. Mental illness doesn't only affect women and girls. Men are not weak for having mental illness. #MYMTips

  • If you feel stigmatized by your counselor, don't give up. This is not representative of all counselors. Try again to find someone better. #MYMTips

  • It is a myth that people with mental illness never recover. Treatment can reduce symptoms and even lead to full recovery. #MYMTips

  • Mental health issues are no different and just as important as other health issues. Seek help when necessary, all the same. #MYMTips

  • Being a public speaker or advocate is not for everyone. But if you are compelled to, give it a try and start breaking down barriers! #MYMTips

  • When you witness stigma or hear words like "psycho" used in stigmatizing ways, call people out on it (if safe to do so). #MYMTips

  • Self-care is not selfish. It is an important part of mental wellness esp. when you are supporting someone to deal with mental health issues. #MYMTips

  • Create an anti-stigma campaign in your school. Consider sharing a submission about it on mindyourmind. #MYMTips

  • Commit to understanding someone with mental illness. Start by exploring others' personal stories here. #MYMTips

  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death of Canadian youth. Don't let stigma stand in the way of getting help. #MYMTips

  • Every message of hope makes a difference. Use social media as a tool to spread mental health and anti-stigma awareness. #MYMTips

  • Print these posters and pin them up in your school or community. They were created by young people to bust stigma attached to mental illness. #MYMTips

  • Take the time and really help a friend. Have a REAL conversation. #MYMTips