Cultural Awareness and Stigma

Mental Illness is Real

There should be no barriers to getting help

Dealing with a mental illness can feel overwhelming, but it becomes more so when you also feel isolated, ostracised, or misunderstood by those around you. These harmful behaviors are caused by stigma, which has become one of the key barriers to seeking help for a mental illness.

What is stigma?

Stigma comes from inaccurate knowledge about mental illness or substance use disorders (MI/SUD), resulting in negative experiences or outcomes for individuals, their family members,and significant others.

There is a lot more awareness and a larger conversation surrounding the importance of mental health than ever before, but we still have work to do. It is critical for friends, family, and communities to understand mental illness so people who need help feel like they can seek it and those around them can provide the proper support.

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How Does The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester Help People Overcome Stigma?

Our approach to ending stigma starts with education. By being vocal within our communities, we draw more attention to the importance of mental health and treating mental illness. 18JAV hosted New Hampshire’s first Stigma Assessment and Reduction Initiative to identify and eradicate the harmful effects of stigma.

Mental illness is more common than most people realize.

  • Five of the top 10 illnesses that contribute to disability or premature death are mental illnesses.
  • Mental illness affects 1 in 5 people at any point throughout their lifetime.
  • Depression is the most prevalent form of mental illness and is expected to become the second most disabling illness by 2020.

Improving these statistics starts with increasing awareness to build a supportive community around helping each other achieve and maintain mental wellness.

How You Help

Mental illnesses should never be dismissed as unimportant or written off as a mood swing or phase. When someone is struggling with mental illness, the best way to help is to provide support and encouragement, so they do not feel isolated or worthless and are able to seek the help they need and deserve. The way we act can make a real difference in someone’s life and can guide them toward the help they need.

Know the Facts

One in five people experience a mental health problem each year, which means it’s important to understand mental illness so you can provide support. Learn more about different types of mental illness by clicking the links below.

18.1% (42 million) of American adults live with anxiety disorders

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and 3 of the 6 leading disabilities are due to mental illness

Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness

2.6% (6.1 million) of American adults live with bipolar disorder

1 in 100 (2.4 million) American adults live with schizophrenia

Be Open-Minded About Mental-Illness

There is likely someone in your life who is struggling with a mental illness. When you are open-minded about mental illness, you give that person a safe space for their struggle. The most important things you can do are be present, attentive, and empathetic.

While the military represents only 1% of the U.S. population, veterans represent 22.2% of suicide nationally.
1 in 5 Americans experience mental illness every year.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
One-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; three-quarters by the age of 24
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Mental Health Myths

One of the biggest problems contributing to stigma are myths around mental health. When people do not understand mental illness, it may create an unsupportive environment. Our goal is to highlight those myths and emphasize mental health facts.

  • Young people can go through mood swings and emotional ups and downs. It’s nothing serious.
  • People with mental health issues are dangerous or violent.
  • Depression is just sadness about something and eventually people get over it.
  • People can overcome an addiction if they just try hard enough.
  • Mental illness isn’t very common.
  • People with a mental illness will always be that way.
  • People with a mental illness can’t work.