stigma isn’t just an insult

Stigma is a mark of disgrace that sets a person apart. When a person is labelled by their illness they are seen as part of a stereotyped group. Negative attitudes create prejudice which leads to negative actions and discrimination.

While the Germanwings crash story generates more stigma against people with mental illnesses, it’s important to look at the meaning and ramifications of stigma, as well as some strategies to decrease it.


I work hard, constantly get stellar reviews, and hardly ever take a day off. I have always shown up earlier and left later than most, and am confident that despite the extra work it requires, I have never once let my mental health affect my job.
But I still feel like I can’t tell anyone.
Why I keep my bipolar disorder secret at work

Most research into the understanding of stigma has been focussed at the population level, but stigma is an essentially individual and interpersonal process.
Time for a cultural shift

“1in4 people, like me, have a mental health problem. Many more people have a problem with that.”
Stephen Fry on mental health stigma

Though he is a mental health advocate, Corrigan encourages the mentally ill to carefully consider whether they want to “come out” to others. Once you are out it is hard to get back in, so you should test the waters. “You might say to somebody, ‘Hey, did you see ER? Sally Field came out as bipolar. What did you think of that?’ If they say, ‘That’s just political correctness, I hate those people,’ then that is someone you should not tell.”
Avoiding the stigma

The latest survey also confirmed that social stigma continues to dictate many people’s attitudes toward mental illness – 44 percent believe people with manic depression are often violent, and another 25 percent think people who have mood disorders, or who have manic-depressive illness, are very different than others. (NAMI)

Your irritating mother-in-law? She may just be irritating.
Bipolar is not a new word for just darn unpleasant

“certain period of my life that my spirit was broke by repeated losses and disasters, which threatened, and indeed effected the utter ruin of my fortune … in this wretched state, the recollection of which makes me yet shudder, I hung my harp on the willow trees, except in some lucid intervals … ”
Robert Burns‘ suspected bipolar used to fight stigma

“Where does stigma stand now? Over the past 10 years we have found signs of progress in bringing bipolar disorder out of the shadows.”
Bipolar & stigma – let there be light

“She’s a psycho. You’ve got to get her out of here,” a supervisor said.
An open letter against the stigma of bipolar and depression

“Those ‘lithium psychos’ look at me with those eyes! Those eyes!”
Smothering the stigma


Bipolar babe stomping out stigma
Stigma fighters – real people living with mental illness.
Living With the Stigma of Mental Illness: One Woman’s Journey
I think he’s like bipolar or something.
How much did stigma harm Robin Williams?
Online Bipolar Assessment Quiz Creating Mental Health Stigma
Thriving professionals with bipolar
Facebook group: bipolar awareness – stop the stigma.
Bipolar Disorder Stigma, Suicide & Families: 58min webinar.

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