Skip to content

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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


Kelly Douglas

I’m Kelly Douglas, a passionate freelance writer, a meticulous editor, avid mental health and disability advocate, and a twenty-something woman with a psychology degree, a lust for life, and a little sparkle. Join me for musings on mental health, disability, personal development, and millennial life as I experience life as a “psyched” writer… and pet as many cats as I can along the way.View Author posts

Up Next

5 Ways That Family Estrangement Can Inflict Lifelong Harm

Ways Family Estrangement Can Inflict Lifelong Harm

Family estrangement, be it parental or sibling, or worse, both, is one of the most painful and heartbreaking things a human being can go through.

Key Points

Cutoffs can ripple through one's life and identity, producing a unique form of grief as the estranged mourn the living.

The estranged often have a lingering difficulty adjusting to, accepting, and making sense of their losses.

The estranged often suffer a loss of self-esteem and trust, which may play out in other relationships and ultimately compromise well-being.


Up Next

Overthinking Before Sleep? 8 Ways To Avoid Racing Thoughts At Night And Sleep Better

How to stop overthinking before sleep

Can’t sleep at night? Overthinking keeping you up? Racing thoughts at night can totally screw up your sleep schedule and lead to insomnia. If you are struggling with sleepless nights and wondering how to stop overthinking at night, then we are here to help.

When your mind is on a race track

It’s been a long, hard day. You are tired, exhausted and ready to hit the sack. As you lie in your bed and slide under your warm, cushy blanket, you can’t wait to fall asleep. The room is dark and the temperature is just right. You exhale deeply as you relax and that’s when it happens. 


The starting pistol fires and your mind races through the track of rumination and painful mem

Up Next

10 Ways To Stop Ruminating

Ways To Stop Ruminating

Rumination if not reigned in at the right time can wreak havoc on your mental and emotional health. That's why it's important to know when and how to stop ruminating, whenever things start to feel too overwhelming.

Key Points

The mind seeks an answer or meaning in any experience. Consequently, people try to think through an experience to better understand a problem.

The average brain generates 15,000 to 50,000 thoughts in a day, and most are negative.

Studies show that a 90-minute walk in nature or a single session of exercise can reduce symptoms of rumination.

One of the most plaguin

Up Next

5 Moments When You Are Most At Risk of Sibling Estrangement

Moments Risk of Sibling Estrangement

Sibling estrangement, just like parental estrangement can be very painful to deal with. Even if you are not particularly close with each other, emotional distance from them is bound to hurt, because you will always have that sibling connection. Let's find out what causes sibling estrangement, and the main reasons for sibling estrangement.

Key Points:

Estrangement often occurs when a sibling’s life changes and he or she must redefine his or her role in the family.

To steer clear of a sibling cutoff, being mindful of the risk factors for estrangement can help.

Siblings renegotiate their relationship over time.

Certain moments are espec

Up Next

How To Cope With the Loss of a Pet: 8 Things

Things To Do If Grieving Loss Of A Pet

Losing a pet is always devastating, and I have been there so many times. You would like to think it gets easier after a point, but grieving the loss of a pet is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life. Losing them feels like losing a limb.

I have been through five losses like this so far, and let me tell you, dealing with pet loss is not easy. At all. Losing my furry best friends has taken a lot out of me, and to date, I am still reeling from the pain. Our pets are our companions, support, and even a shoulder to cry on, they are never "just pets". They are family.

Related: 10 Important Life Lessons I Learned From My Dog