What You Can do to Help Combat Mental Health Stigma

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:

  • Held responsible for their conditions.
  • Expected to change their thoughts and behaviors.
  • Avoided, isolated and ostracized.
  • Viewed as unpredictable, erratic and sometimes dangerous.
  • Considered incapable or unable to make rational decisions.

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?

  1. Be respectful with your language-words are powerful. Use person-first language, challenge misconceptions and be cautious when discussing suicide.
  2. Educate yourself about mental illness. NAMI offers FREE education programs. Call us!
  3. Be supportive, practice empathy and compassion.
  4. Be active in spreading mental health awareness. Tell your story.
  5. Invite NAMI to your houses of worship, your workplace or your organizations. We can offer a half-hour presentation, and…we do it at no charge to you!


Laurie Huske, Board President, NAMI-Kane County North

Info Corner

See more at: https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/May-2017/How-You-Can-Stop-Mental-Illness-

To find your local NAMI, go to www.nami.org or call NAMI Kane County North at 847-410-9719.