18 Powerful Ways We Can Reduce the Mental Health Stigma

Ways We Reduce Mental Health Stigma

Mental Health Awareness is a necessity and so is the stigma surrounding mental illness. The mental health stigma may seem daunting to reverse, but there is a myriad of ways we can work to combat it.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I asked people from all walks of life how we can reduce the mental health stigma. I hope their enlightening words inspire you to work to eliminate the stigma.

Ways We Reduce Mental Health Stigma infographics

1. Discuss mental health without shame.

“Start talking to people [about] mental health, and [don’t be] afraid to discuss. Talk to family, friends, colleagues [and] neighbors, and build from there with more people. Encourage [others] to talk about [mental illness] and ways to remove the stigma.” — Sofia

“Talk about mental illness and have real, open discussions about it and realize it’s nothing to be ashamed to talk about because mental health is so important.” — Larissa

“I think one way [we could] reduce the stigma is by talking about mental health. We all have it, so why not talk about it? We need to normalize it [like] any other physical condition that we can have.” — Yujia

2. Document your mental health transformation.

“I think the best way to reduce stigma is by exercising courage and documenting our struggles and transformation. There’s no shame in admitting you need help.” — Molly

Read:11 Signs You Need To Talk To A Therapist

3. View people with mental illness as people first.

“[See that] people with mental illness are still people first.” — Sydney

“Mental health needs to be talked about on a more personal level first [and a more clinical level] second. There is a person behind the figures and charts you need to get to know first, and the diagnosis comes last. People [with mental illness] are still people. Treat them first.” — Jessica

“I think we can reduce the [mental health] stigma by working not to reduce people to their mental illness. Mental illness [may] already be all-consuming for the person [who] lives with it, so let’s all work harder to see it as just a slice of who someone is, not the defining factor.” — Kat

4. Show empathy for those living with mental illness.

“We [could] reduce [the mental health stigma] by talking to people with mental illness and [trying] to [empathize] instead of judge.” — Louis

5. Make people aware of mental illness.

“We need to make more people aware of [of mental illness]. I believe that if more people are in tune with what is going on, then maybe they will be more tolerant of what is right in front of them.” — Rivka

6. Speak up if you notice signs of mental illness.

“[We could] end the [mental health] stigma by speaking up if we see signs of mental illness.” — Tylia

7. Recognize how common mental health conditions are.

“We can reduce mental health stigma by recognizing that 1 in 5 people deal with a mental illness in [any] given year. They deserve support, resources and compassion.” — Adrian

Read: What Depression Looks Like: The Hard-Hitting Truth

8. Be an agent of change.

“We need to be the change that people see.  We [may] not see change unless [those of us with mental illness] are the voice to help us.” — Daniel

9. Advocate for ongoing mental health education.

“I think a great place for us to start as a society is education — making sure people learn about how common mental health issues are and what some common ones may look like. I think [mental health] education at a younger age is so important.” -Megan

“I believe the quickest way to [reduce] the stigma is to educate others.” — Katrina

“[We need to educate] the masses about mental illness in order to reduce [the stigma]. If people are uneducated, there is still a stigma about mental illness.” — Dakota

10. Learn about specific mental health diagnoses.

“I think it’s vital that [medical] professionals [in particular] are not afraid of certain diagnoses and are willing to learn when they don’t understand something.” — Andee

11. Foster a culture that allows men to feel comfortable with asking for help.

“Men [in particular] are taught from the youngest of ages that seeking help is a sign of weakness. I jokingly say that most men would rather be lost than ask for directions. We have to change that! We need to create a dynamic in which help-seeking is OK and viewed as a signal of greater strength.” — Casey

12. Don’t be afraid to disclose your mental illness.

“Don’t be afraid to tell other people you have a mental illness because if you are ashamed of it, then other people [may] also see it as shameful.” — Katie

13. Don’t joke about mental illness.

“I think something a lot of people don’t consider is being careful with the jokes they make. For example, [when] someone has a really bad day and says, “I want to die” as a joke. Things like that can make it difficult for someone [who is actually struggling with their mental health] to come forward because they might feel like they won’t be taken seriously.” — Abbey

14. Change the way you think about mental health.

“Hanging onto your [misconceptions about mental illness may] only showcase your mental well-being. Help yourself mend those thoughts, and you [may] be surprised as to how many people you can help.” — Vaishnavi

Read:10 Pointers For Fighting The Stigma Of Substance Abuse

15. Acknowledge that illness is illness.

“Acknowledge that illness is illness, whether it is mental or physical.” — Maria

16. Don’t be afraid to go to therapy.

“As someone who goes to therapy, I think more people shouldn’t be so afraid to go to therapy. It doesn’t mean you’re ‘crazy.’ It means you want to be a better person and have a grasp on yourself [and] your life. I think one of the biggest stigmas is ‘therapy’ equals ‘crazy,’ and it’s quite the opposite.” — Lexi

Read: Overcoming The Stigma Around Couples Therapy

17. Be open and honest about your mental health.

“I think that one important step to ‘breaking the cycle’ of mental health stigmas is by being completely open and honest with those around us about our illnesses and struggles. By doing this, we [can] humanize the illness and put real faces to the diagnoses.” — Megan

“Share your personal experiences with mental illness. Openly, unapologetically sharing your mental health story can spark a chain reaction, allowing others to feel comfortable with disclosing their mental illnesses as well. Your story may soon become a dialogue, then can transform into a conversation, which could effectively end the silence surrounding mental illness.” — Kelly

“Open up about mental health, and you’ll be amazed [by] how many others [may] open up, too.” — Rhiannon

18. Recognize that it takes a village to spread mental health awareness.

“[Know that] advocates can only do so much. It’s up to everyone else to take the wheel and help us [spread awareness]. [Raising mental health awareness] takes a village.” — Juliana

Written  by: Kelly Douglas
Originally appeared on: The Mighty 
Republished with permission. 
Ways We Reduce Mental Health Stigma pin
Ways Reduce Mental Health Stigma pin

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Up Next

Can Gods Go Mad? The Startling Reality Of Mental Disorders In Mythology

Startling Discoveries of Mental Disorders in Mythology

Ever wondered about how mental illness was perceived in ancient times? With mental health awareness becoming an increasingly important topic these days, it is about time we took a closer look at mental disorders in mythology.

Ancient times have witnessed a profound fascination with and exploration of mental illness. Mythology has served as the lens through which mental disorders have been portrayed, analyzed, understood and even revered across cultures. 

So let us dive into the world of mental disorders in mythology, analyzing how different cultures and ancient societies interpreted and portrayed it. From mental illness in ancient Greece to Vedic literature, understanding the past can help us better understand how to deal with mental health issues in future.

Up Next

Shame Exposed: The Psychology Of Shame And How To Break Free

The Psychology of Shame: Tips for Overcoming Shame

Ever felt utterly humiliated? Vulnerable? Exposed? Ever felt so ashamed that you wanted to just run away and hide in a cave where no one would ever find you? We’ve all been there thanks to this intense emotion called shame. Let’s explore the psychology of shame and understand this often-hidden emotion.

Psychology of Shame: Unmasking The Silent Whisper of Self-Criticism

Shame is a universal yet complex human emotion that arises from a deep sense of inadequacy or unworthiness. Unlike guilt, which focuses on specific actions, shame targets our very essence and can permeate every aspect of our lives. 

Up Next

BPD Love Bombing: 8 Warning Signs Of Overwhelming Affection

BPD Love Bombing: Unmistakable Signs You Are A Victim

Dealing with the ups and downs of any relationship can be like a rollercoaster ride, but when it comes to BPD love bombing, you might feel like you’re buckled in for the most intense ride without knowing when it’ll stop.

This behavior is known for its strong wave of love and attention—it can knock you off your feet in a confusing way. If you find yourself suddenly the star of someone’s world out of nowhere, chances are you’re experiencing this intense strategy.

Let’s look at the 8 signs that might mean you’ve been caught up in borderline love bombing, all while keeping things light-hearted and insightf

Up Next

7 Signs Of Endogenous Depression And How To Treat It

Signs Of Endogenous Depression And How To Treat It

Endogenous depression is classified as a major depressive disorder, a mood disorder characterised by persistent and intense feelings of sadness that can last for extended periods of time.

Psychology differentiates two types of depression: endogenous (causes from within the person) and exogenous (causes relate to external events in a person’s life).

Understanding Endogenous Depression

It is thought of as a type of depression in which there are no external changes that

Up Next

3 Reasons Why Alcohol Affects Your Relationship And What To Do About It

Alcohol Affects Your Relationship? Critical Reasons Why

Is alcohol impacting your relationship? If your answer is yes, then you’ve come to the right place. This article is going to explore how alcohol affects your relationship, the reasons behind it, and how to cut back on alcohol.

During an interview on the popular podcast The Tim Ferriss Show, famous entrepreneur and businessman Sir Richard Branson once suggested a simple yet important thought experiment to listeners.

We’ll paraphrase that thought experiment here:

Think back to the few biggest mistakes or arguments of your marriage. Now think how many of them occurred when one or both of you were und

Up Next

4 Signs Of Relationship OCD And How To Make Sense Of It

Signs Of Relationship OCD And How To Make Sense Of It

What is relationship OCD and what are the best ways of dealing with relationship OCD? This article is going to talk about all that and more.

Relationship OCD refers to someone who has become consumed with obsessive doubts about their partner and their past.

Experiencing changes in the emotions we feel towards a romantic partner is a natural part of developing an intimate relationship. At the same time, we all might pay more attention to our partner’s flaws as the relationship progresses.

But for people in the grip of relationship OCD,

Up Next

How To Help A Grieving Loved One: Embracing Empathy

How To Help A Grieving Loved One: Embracing Empathy

When you see someone you love grieving, it can hit hard, and might even make you feel helpless. If your intention is to support a grieving loved one, then you have come to the right place. This article is going to talk about how to help a grieving loved one, and helping someone who is grieving.


It’s natural to want to make a grieving loved one “feel better,” but the task should be to help them feel less isolated.

Some well-meaning statements can cause feelings of isolation for those experiencing grief.

It’s important to show grieving loved ones caring, presen