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How to Deal with Local Mental Health Stigma


"ACTION for STIGMA sighted in local newspaper/radio news reports, editorials or ads, billboards, or, heard on TV news and talk show programs. 

Affiliate members, Affiliate Presidents (using their NAMI [National Alliance for the Mentally Ill] letterhead), professionals, providers and friends, need to contact by FAX, mail or phone: 

Radio or TV station managers, newspaper publisher and editors, advertisers and sponsors. Sponsors do not want to lose their local customers. They are usually the first to change or withdraw their commercial. HOWEVER, DO WATCH FOR AND COMMEND ALL OF THE ABOVE FOR SUPPORTIVE ARTICLES, EDITORIALS, ETC. 

Pro-Action to Curb the Growth of Local Stigma

Outreach to civic/business organizations and the clergy, to speak and/or distribute fact sheets about the hurts and harms of stigma, share your own story. Contact Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, League of Women Voters, PTA, Neighborhood Homeowners Association, your own clergy person, etc. 

Inform your local and State elected officials (City Council, Supervisors, Assembly-persons, State Senators and Governor, etc.) about the true facts of brain disorders before they make decisions about legislation and regulations affecting persons with mental illness. Help them understand the myths and misconceptions that perpetuate prejudice and stigma which result in unjust discrimination against persons with mental illness in housing, employment, education, etc. They need to fund the basic needs of all persons with a severe mental illness and to provide treatment that works so recovery can happen. 

Ask your Board of Education to follow U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher's Report dealing with the importance of educating children in the classroom about mental illnesses. Youngsters need to understand they must report symptoms just as they would for any other illness. Stigma arising from classmates' taunts, with names like "pscyho" or "lunatic" keep kids from seeking treatment. The adolescent suicide rate is rising alarmingly among young people with untreated clinical depression. 

Most importantly and for many it's most difficult-families need to speak out --when appropriate in any conversation -and be open about the illness of their loved one just as they would if it were any other illness or disorder of the body. Unfortunately, keeping this as a family secret contributes to stigma."

NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill)

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