What You Should Know

Stigma keeps people from getting help. Of the one-in-four people living with a mental illness, fewer than half with serious illnesses seek treatment; and those who do expend considerable energy keeping their treatment a secret.

Stigma leads to fear, mistrust, and violence. Even though the vast majority of people who have mental illnesses are no more violent than anyone else, the average television viewer sees a minimum of three people with mental illnesses each week-and most of them are portrayed as violent. Such inaccurate portrayals lead people to fear those who have mental illnesses.  In fact, people with mental illness are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violent crimes.

Stigma leads to discrimination:

  • Stigma prevents people from getting good jobs and advancing in the workplace. Even after passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), some employers are reluctant to hire people who have mental illnesses. This discrimination is illegal but still occurs.
  • Stigma keeps people from obtaining safe and fair housing. Many individuals try (and frequently succeed in) preventing people who have mental illnesses from living in their neighborhoods.
  • Stigma results in inadequate insurance coverage. Many insurance plans do not cover mental health services to the same degree as other illnesses. When mental illnesses are covered, coverage may be limited, inappropriate, or inadequate.

List adapted from information from information from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Stigma & Discrimination in the Workplace

Mhapa provides resources for employers and employees about mental health issues in the workplace, including myths about mental illness and employment, rights and responsibilities, and how to recognize and speak about mental illness.

For Employers. For Employees.