Mental Health Stigma

‘Famous faces of depression’ poster is reproduced with permission of iFred

Stigma occurs when society labels someone as tainted or less desirable. Stigma involves three elements; a lack of knowledge (ignorance), negative attitudes (prejudice) and people behaving in ways that disadvantage the stigmatised person (discrimination). Several health conditions are associated with stigma including some cancers, HIV, AIDS and skin conditions such as psoriasis. However the stigma related to mental health problems is particularly severe and widespread. This article discusses mental health stigma, its consequences and what can be done to reduce it.