Research shows that the most effective way to reduce stigma is to meet someone with mental illness face-to-face. Knowing someone with a lived experience is two to three times as effective as educational programs in terms of changing attitudes.
Help us spread the word that mental illness is real and it’s treatable. Here are six ways you can help end the stigma of mental illness:
- Seek out people with lived experience. Listen to their story.
- Reinforce and support stories of resilience and recovery.
- Wear lime green to create curiosity. Be prepared to speak up.
- Consider a story you can tell about recovery.
- Share others’ stories. Visit rogersinhealth.org.
- Bring the conversation into your communities: work, civic, faith, schools.
Wisconsin Initiative for Stigma Elimination (WISE)
Through their leadership of Rogers InHealth, co-directors Sue McKenzie and Suzette Urbaschitch formed a statewide coalition of organizations and individuals called WISE. Its goal is to promote inclusion and support for all affected by mental illness.
They offer the following to their members:
- WISE Basics – This is a presentation on what stigma is and what research has taught us about how to reduce stigma. We then facilitate discussions on what this means for your organization’s efforts.
- WISE Guide – This online planning guide includes Principles for Stigma Reduction, research, tips to support stigma reduction, and support for strategic disclosure.
We invite you to join WISE! Help expand the statewide network and support stigma reduction efforts. To discuss coordinating WISE Basics presentations for your group and/or potential partnership with WISE, you may contact Sue McKenzie at email@example.com or 414-759-3374.
Lime green is the color of mental health and wellness. Wear it to create curiosity. Be prepared to speak up!
“In our Mexican culture, we’re embarrassed to say what’s going on with our kids. We don’t want to let other people know – even our own family. Instead of getting help, they’ll criticize you or say, ‘Your kids are going crazy.’ When you tell others that your kids need help, they blame it on their hormones. They say, ‘They’re going to outgrow it. Just let time pass.'”
“After a while, I was at a point that I was like, no that’s not going to happen. My son really needs help. So when we did get help, I didn’t tell anyone. But then it was my son told his cousin first, and the cousin was really supportive. Then I felt like I could let the word out because he was ready to let people know. He didn’t care what people were going to say. That’s how we opened up. We had some negative, but we knew that one day others are going to have to go through this too, and maybe we can give them the resources to get help.”