The Impact of Stigma

Submitted by WHMHRB on Sun, 08/07/2022 - 11:38pm

Impact of Stigma Mental Health and Recovery Board

Eliminating Stigma in the United States

What is Stigma? Stigma around mental health is widespread in the US, which makes it more difficult for people struggling with mental health issues to reach out for help. Stigma often is associated with feelings of shame, disgrace, and humiliation.


Stigma as it relates to mental health comes in many different forms. It can appear internally when individuals believe and act according to the negative attitudes of society. Public stigma, the discriminatory and dividing set of beliefs held by the general population, often consists of labeling and stereotyping certain groups of individuals and it often leads to people distrusting, shunning, or avoiding those who struggle with mental illness.


Why is stigma a problem? Many people are still reluctant to discuss suicide, or any other mental health struggle, due to stigma. Research from the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation shows that people who are affected by stigma are more likely to lose self-worth, have a higher degree of hopelessness and shame, experience higher rates of unemployment and/or discrimination when applying for jobs, and are more likely to experience bullying, harassment and physical violence. For all these reasons and more, stigma creates a barrier to help-seeking behavior for people who have suicidal thoughts, have previously attempted suicide, or lost a loved one to suicide. According to the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, “In Ohio, nearly five people die by suicide each day, and suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-34."


If stereotyping, discrimination, and isolation are risk factors for suicide, then we need to break the stigma. Breaking the stigma starts with awareness and education backed by a healthy dose of compassion and support.


To eliminate stigma, we need to start by understanding why suicide occurs and advocating for mental health awareness within our communities. That’s why our funded partner agencies offer suicide hotlines, mental health support groups, counseling, and community resources.


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255 anytime to be connected to a trained counselor at a crisis center in our area.


NAMI Family Support Group: Attend the 1st Tuesday of each month from 6:30-8 pm to join individuals who have a relative with a mental illness


Suicide Prevention Training: Call us today to schedule a training: 330-264-2527


Join NAMI’s PALS: A support group for People Affected by a Loved One’s Suicide. Led by trained facilitators and is open to anyone dealing with a loss by suicide. PALS meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month, 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at the NAMI offices. For more information, call 330-264-1590.


Find a full list of crisis resources here:


Just one of us can start the fight against stigma and pull up a chair next to someone fighting a mental illness. It’s important, and we are here to help.


Wayne/Holmes Mental Health & Recovery Board

We aim to improve awareness of and access to mental health and addiction treatment and prevention services in Wayne & Holmes Counties. 


We provide leadership, support, and funding to community partners and agencies in the delivery of mental health and addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery services.


Our agencies provide addiction treatment programs, mental health counseling, suicide prevention programming, and more! Experience you can trust.