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Reducing mental illness stigma

2-minute read

Having good support networks can help reduce mental illness stigma.

What is mental illness stigma?

People with a mental illness may be treated differently to other people.

If you have a mental illness, you can sometimes be discriminated against, stereotyped, isolated or made to feel different, setting you apart from others. This is known as mental illness stigma.

Not only may others think this way about you, this may also lead you to have negative thoughts about yourself because you have a mental illness.

Reducing stigma

To help in reducing mental illness stigma, it’s important to understand what someone with mental illness may be going through.

It's important to know that people with mental illness have the same rights as everybody else.

When negative stereotypes come up in conversation or in the media, you can actively dispel myths and educate people against harmful, inaccurate stereotyping.

Be mindful about the words you use too when describing yourself and others, avoiding insensitive and hurtful words, such as 'nutter', 'loopy', 'crazy' and 'psycho'.

There are also organisations that can help you with dealing with mental illness stigma.

Where to get support

If you suffer from stigma or know someone who does, help is available from:

  • a mental health professional, such as a psychologist, counsellor or psychiatrists
  • the local community health centres
  • the local community mental health centres.

You can also learn more here about how to deal with any stigma you face. If you want to report stigma, visit the SANE Australia website and fill out an online report form or call 1800 18 SANE (7263).

For immediate counselling assistance, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

 

Last reviewed: September 2017

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