Every day, thousands of individuals are suffering from one mental disease or another. In addition to their mental state, the individuals experience major stress due to a variety of things, but one of the main things that they receive stress from is stigma. Stigma is an opinion or judgement held by individuals or society towards a certain subject. It can also be defined as a mark of disgrace that sets a person apart. Stigma contributes major stress towards people that have mental illness. Most of this stigma comes from the fact that the general public do not have enough knowledge on the subject of mental illness, and when people do not know of a subject, they tend to fear and alienate it. They do this, as they do not fully comprehend what it means to suffer from a mental illness and the fact that the discovery of mental illness and what they are is a recent discovery. This is true as many years ago, people with mental health issues were simply locked up in institutions. These days due to the rapid advances in knowledge of mental illness, there is much less prejudice, but the prejudice is still there. This is what ultimately causes stigma.
Stigma brings experiences and feelings such as shame, blame, hopelessness, distress and due to these feelings, those suffering from mental illnesses, develop a reluctance to seek and/ or accept necessary help. A survey conducted by the government of Western Australia show that three out of four people with a mental illness report that they have experienced stigma. In order to combat what stigma does to an individual, every person can take small roles in creating a mentally healthy community that supports recovery and social inclusion. A key method is to learn and share the facts about mental health and illness. This allows the public to understand and empathise at what people with mental illness is suffering and make a conscientious effort to help them and not put them down for being different. You could get to know people with personal experiences of mental illness, speak up when you see discrimination towards others with mental illness occurring, offer support and encouragement to people that suffer mental illnesses, do not discriminate others due to their mental illness and