Burst the Stigma – Recognizing Prejudice

The connection between stigma and barriers to health and wellness is supported by research, and although the types of stigma may vary by health condition and across cultures, the effects are well documented.

What can YOU do? Be aware of your own prejudice. Recognize that you hold judgmental attitudes and beliefs. Try reflecting and reframing the automatic thoughts you may have about mental health and substance use.
We all have automatic thoughts brought on by our life experiences and influences. However, some of these automatic thoughts may stigmatize or stereotype others. Recognizing your own attitudes and beliefs that may be stigmatizing is a first step towards making bigger change. Download this helpful toolkit to learn what you can do to burst the stigma around mental health and substance use. 

DYK? People who experience health-related stigma also experience:

  • Social isolationA study found that 56% of people do not want to spend an evening socializing with someone with a mental illness 
  • Poor quality of lifeA study on people with lung cancer found that stigma was associated with lower levels of quality of life.
  • Less access to healthcare: Numerous studies found a link between stigma related to substance use disorder and avoiding seeking treatment. Other studies found that many healthcare providers hold stigmatizing attitudes toward people who have substance use disorder. 
  • Delayed diagnosis of a conditionA study on men living with HIV found that a high level of internalized stigma was associated with less frequent HIV testing.
  • Reduced adherence to treatments: A study with people living with serious mental health disorders found that people who had higher levels of self-stigma were less likely to adhere to their treatments.
  • Illness and death: A study showed that stigma has been found to be associated with overdoses related to substance use disorders.


Source: March of Dimes/Beyond the Label

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