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What is Stigma? An attempt to label a particular group of people as less worthy of respect than others A mark of shame, disgrace or disapproval that results in discrimination Not just a matter of using the wrong word or action – its about disrespect

What does Stigma have to do with Mental Illness? Stigma leads to … - Inadequate insurance coverage for mental health services - Fear, mistrust, and violence against people living with mental illness and their families - Family and friends turning their backs on people with mental illness

- Prejudice and discrimination Discrimination against people who have mental illnesses keeps them from seeking help While 1 in 5 Americans live with a mental disorder, estimates indicate that nearly two-thirds of all people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek treatment, especially people from diverse communities.

Lack of knowledge, fear of disclosure, rejection of friends, and discrimination are a few reasons why people with mental illness don’t seek help. Discrimination against people with mental illness violates their rights and denies them opportunities

Despite Civil Rights Law such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with mental illnesses often experience discrimination in the workplace, education, housing, and healthcare. Ethnic and racial communities in the US face a social and economic environment of inequality that includes greater exposure to racism, discrimination, violence and poverty Mistrust of mental health services is an important reason for deterring people of color from seeking treatment. Their concerns are reinforced by evidence (both direct and indirect) of clinician bias and stereotyping

The cultures of racial and ethnic groups alter the types of mental health services used. Clinical environments that do not respect or are incompatible with the cultures of the people they serve may deter people from seeking help to begin with, adherence to treatment and follow-up care. Culture Counts – One’s racial or ethnic background bears upon whether people even seek help in the first place, what types of help they seek, what coping styles and social supports they have, and how much stigma they attach to mental illness.

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“No one would ever say that someone with a broken arm or a broken leg is less than a whole person, but people say that or imply that all the time about people with mental illness.”
-Elyn R. Saks