What is the Impact of Stigma?

The discrimination experienced by people because of their mental health problem can act as a barrier to seeking help, speaking out and recovery.

The impact of stigma is considered twofold:

Public Stigma

Public stigma involves stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination.


e.g. People with mental health difficulties are dangerous

Stereotyping can make it easier to dismiss people with mental health conditions which can lead to social distancing, exclusion and isolation.


e.g. people with mental health issues are dangerous and I am afraid of them.

Prejudice is when people form opinions without being fully aware of the facts. People with self-experience of mental health conditions frequently encounter prejudice in their daily lives and it has a negative impact.


e.g. I do not want to work with someone with a mental health issue / condition.

Discrimination occurs when someone is treated less positively or appropriately than others due to their mental health condition.


For many people the fear of misunderstanding and the prejudice they experience leads them to develop self-stigma. This is where the person starts to believe that what is being said about them is true.

Self-stigma can lead a person to believe myths such as they will not recover or cannot hold down a job.
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