If you have or have had a mental illness, you may want some help dealing with mental illness stigma that can go with it.
Here are some tips:
1. Don't believe that you are your illness
Someone with a broken ankle is not a brokenanklitic – they are more than their illness. So are you.
If you have bipolar disorder, say 'I have bipolar disorder' rather than 'I’m bipolar'. If you convince yourself first that you're a person, not a walking illness, others will find it easier to see you that way too.
2. Don't take it personally
Most discrimination comes from people who don't understand or have much experience of mental illness. Try to consider it as their problem, not yours.
3. Use facts
Mental illness is common. It is not a sign of weakness. Learn some useful facts and figures, and tell people about it.
4. Tell your story (if you want)
The more mental illness remains hidden, the more people think it must be something to be ashamed of. But it’s your choice entirely as to how much you reveal to anybody of your life.
5. Choose who you deal with
That's easier in some places than others. For example, it's hard to do that at work, but much easier with friends. Some people get it once you talk to them, others never will.
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Last reviewed: September 2017