Let others know that there is hope and understanding. You can change the way the world sees mental health.
Stigma Free

Why does being StigmaFree matter? If you aren’t sure, it's time to learn more. The perception of mental illness won’t change if we don’t act to change it. Talk about mental health conditions and find out how you can make a difference to support others.

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The StigmaFree campaign is NAMI’s effort to end stigma and create hope for those affected by mental illness. Through powerful words and actions, we can shift the social and systemic barriers for those living with mental health conditions.

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What is Stigma? Why is it a Problem?

Stigma is when someone, or even you yourself, views a person in a negative way just because they have a mental health condition. Some people describe stigma as a feeling of shame or judgement from someone else. Stigma can even come from an internal place, confusing feeling bad with being bad.

Navigating life with a mental health condition can be tough, and the isolation, blame and secrecy that is often encouraged by stigma can create huge challenges to reaching out, getting needed support and living well. Learning how to avoid and address stigma are important for all of us, especially when you realize stigma’s effects:

  • People experiencing mental health conditions often face rejection, bullying and discrimination. This can make their journey to recovery longer and more difficult.
  • Mental health conditions are the leading cause of disability across the United States.
  • Even though most people can be successfully treated, less than half of the adults in the U.S. who need services and treatment get the help they need.
  • The average delay between the onset of symptoms and intervention is 8-10 years.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death of youth ages 15-24 and the tenth leading cause of death for all Americans.

Here are NAMI's Three Steps for Being StigmaFree

Step 1

Educate Yourself and Others

Everyone knows a little about mental health issues but knowing the facts can help you educate others and reject stigmatizing stereotypes. They are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing. Understanding mental health isn't only about being able to identify symptoms and having a name for conditions, but dispelling false ideas about mental health conditions as well.

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Step 2

See the Person, Not the Condition

1 in 5 Americans live with a mental health condition and each of them has their own story, path and journey that says more about them than their diagnosis does. Whether you are a friend, family member, caregiver or medical professional, getting to know a person and treating them with kindness and empathy means far more than just knowing what they are going through.

Read Personal Stories

Step 3

Take Action

Our mental health care system has been in crisis for far too long; often keeping treatment and recovery out of the hands of many who need it. We can take action now as we push for better legislation and policies to improve lives for everyone. By lending your support, you can show that this cause is important to you.

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Where do you see StigmaFree? Join thousands of people across the country who are joining the movement.

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With Thanks

NAMI is proud to partner with the hope & grace initiative which represents an unprecedented and unending commitment by philosophy to support mental health and well-being.
with additional thanks to the Magellan Cares Foundation.