(August 28, 2006)

One of the main goals in my mental health work has been to reduce stigma. Recently I concluded that stigma was perhaps more responsible for depression, hopelessness and suicide than the illness itself.
In my young and zealous “voice” back in August 2006, I wrote the following in my Roller Coaster blog:

I want to talk about the topic I’m probably most passionate about/angry about/disgusted with. Although I can speak quite rationally about this, it makes me “mad”.
The greatest culprit that stands in the way of the welfare of people living with mental disorders is stigma. Think of how things would be if there were no stigma attached to our disorders:

  • we would not have to feel shame
  • we would be more willing to accept our illness
  • people would be less afraid of giving us support
  • our self-esteem would be better
  • we’d be more confident
  • we’d be more able to take a significant role in our community
  • we’d be more likely to accept medical treatment
  • people would be more willing to study the causes of our disorders and learn how to help us
  • none of us would have to feel like outcasts
  • there would be less homeless people on the streets
  • we would feel better loved
  • we would not feel as much pain

The world stigmatizes us. But one of the worst things is that we who live with such disorders accept that stigma. We take it on ourselves. We feel the shame when we shouldn’t.