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How can you help fight stigma?

Challenge it!

You can help challenge stigma in a few easy ways: 


1. Speak Up

When you hear negative or inaccurate comments about mental illness, address them. Calmly and respectfully let the person who made the comments know that it is not acceptable to stigmatize.

2. Educate Yourself

Learn the facts about mental illness and ditch any inaccurate beliefs. Share with friends, family, coworkers, and classmates.

3. Tell Your Story

If you have personal experience with mental health challenges, share this experience with others. This will help to dispel myths and could encourage others to seek help.

4. Use Person-First Language

See the whole person first instead of labeling them by the mental health challenges they face.


Person-First Language

The use of language is an essential part of combating stigma. It is critical that people are seen

as people first, and are not seen as their mental health condition. Do not define others by their illness. Person-first language maintains the integrity of individuals as whole human beings, by removing language that equates people to their condition or has negative connotations.


There is power in language.


Instead of saying:

"Mentally ill," "psycho," "crazy," "lunatic," say "person with a mental health condition"

"They are bipolar," say "they have bipolar disorder"

"Addict," "junkie," "user," say "person with a substance abuse disorder"

"Alcoholic," "drunk," say "person with alcohol use disorder"

The terms have a neutral tone and distinguish the person from his or her diagnosis. They also avoid eliciting negative associations, punitive attitudes, and individual blame. 

Things to keep in mind:

  • Emphasize abilities, not limitations 

  • Do not use language that suggests the lack of something 

  • Do not use offensive language 

  • Avoid language that implies negative stereotypes 

  • Do not portray people with mental health conditions as inspirational only because of their condition

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