The Stigma Related to Mental Illness

The facts: one-in-four people will be affected by a mental illness; it is one of the leading causes of disability in North America; the World Health Organization predicts that by the year 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability worldwide.

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The Everyday Life of Stigma

It is human nature to fear what we don't understand. Mental illness is therefore feared by many of us and still carries a stigma; a sign of disgrace, as the person suffering from a mental illness is labelled, stereotyped and feared. Unfortunately, the stigma can be more destructive than the illness itself.

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Cultural and Ethnic Stigmas Surrounding Mental Health

Mental illness is such a serious issue that the Surgeon General of the United States has made this explicit recommendation for all people: "Seek help if you have a mental health problem or think you have symptoms of a mental disorder."

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The Media and Stigma

Picture the image of a building on fire. The building is a hospital – a psychiatric hospital. Innocent sick people are displaced as their temporary home is set ablaze. The 2002 headline covering this tragedy: "Roasted Nuts."

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Which source do you feel most stigmatizes those with mental illness?


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Society / Local Community


Meet our Writers

Natasha Tracy
M. Cole Cohen, Ph.D.