Some people believe that focusing on fighting stigma is a worthless cause. They wonder why NAMI pushes our StigmaFree campaign so much. Why does being StigmaFree matter? What difference does it really make? Because of stigma, those who experience mental illness are often labeled and seen as their condition—and nothing more. They are often:
Living with a mental health condition is already challenging, and the added burden of stigma leads to tragic outcomes. According to the CDC, more than 41,000 individuals take their own life each year. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among adults in the U.S. and the 3rd leading cause of death among people aged 10-24. We need to step up to fight stigma and prevent suicide. So, you see, StigmaFree is not just some marketing campaign–It’s an individual’s all-encompassing approach to mental illness.
How can you be an advocate and promote a stigma-free society?
Laurie Huske, Board President, NAMI-Kane County North
To find your local NAMI, go to www.nami.org or call NAMI Kane County North at 847-410-9719.