Stigma is the biggest obstacle to the recovery, treatment and social acceptance of people living with mental problems. Negative attitudes and perceptions of mental disorders must be fundamentally changed and it must be demonstrated that people with mental health problems are completely normal and lead meaningful lives.

Everyone can be part of the change just by helping to remove stigma and discrimination:

Know the facts. Educate yourself about mental health issues.

Be aware of your attitudes and behavior. We all grew up with prejudice and judgmental thinking. But we can change the way we think. Think of people as unique creatures, not as labels or stereotypes; they have many other personality traits that do not disappear just because they have a mental disorder.

Choose your words carefully. The way we talk can affect how others think and speak. Do not use scathing or derogatory language.

Educate others. Find opportunities to share facts or positive attitudes toward people with mental health problems. If friends, family, colleagues, or even the media spread information that is not true, then challenge those myths and stereotypes. Explain to them how negative words and inaccurate descriptions, by keeping false ideas alive, can affect people with mental health problems.

Focus on the positive. People with mental health problems, have a valuable contribution to society. Their mental problems are only one part of their essence. We have all heard the negative stories. Let’s see and celebrate the positives.

Support people. Treat people with mental health problems with dignity and respect. Think about how you would like others to treat you in the same situation. If you have family members, friends, or colleagues with addictions or mental health problems, encourage their efforts to recover.

Include everyone. Denial of access to work, housing and health services, which we all take for granted, is a violation of human rights. People with mental health problems and addictions have the right to participate in society as much as anyone else .

Here are some ways you can overcome the stigma:

Start treatment. You may find it difficult to admit that you need one.
Don’t let the stigma create shame or doubt in yourself.
Do not isolate yourself.
Don’t identify yourself with your disorder.
Join a support group.
Seek help at school.
Fight the stigma.