Stigma: a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society has about something.

What does stigma look like?

Exclusion. Telling someone to toughen up or snap out of it. Silence. Calling someone “crazy.” Treating mental illness as a fallacy for the lazy or attention starved.

How long have we been stigmatizing mental illness?

It’s been around for a long time. Society has always viewed mental illness as a sign of weakness. But in the last half-century, we’ve discovered so much more about how the brain works, yet the stigma remains.

The effect?

People who have a mental illness feel ashamed. They hide. They don’t get the help or treatment they need.

What can you do?

Talk. Listen. Replace awkward silence with questions and understanding. Become a voice against mental illness stigma. Spread the word that mental illnesses are often chemical imbalances that can be alleviated with proper medication.