Our observations of other people are usually based on a personal trait and unfortunately, this is an all too common an experience for a person who has a mental illness. Stigma may be obvious and direct like making a negative remark about an individual’s mental illness or treatment, or it may be more subtle such as the assumption that the person concerned could be unstable, violent or dangerous because he/she has a mental health condition. Some individuals even judge themselves in a negative way.
The effects of stigma are harmful and take various forms. There can be a lack of understand by family, friends or colleagues. There is often discrimination at work or school. They have difficulty finding housing. They suffer bullying, physical violence or harassment. Health insurance in most countries does not adequately cover mental illness. Eventually the patient believes he/she will never be able to succeed or meet any challenges and that they won’t ever manage to improve their situations.