Chipping away at the stigma of mental illness

— “Mental illness is like having a broken leg,” Black said.

For example, a physical aliment of the heart causes issues associated with having a weak or damaged heart. The brain is just another organ, except it handles thoughts and behavior, so a defect or illness in that area could impact thought and behavior, or any other brain function.

Bulris said that stigma specifically means mental health.

“We need to educate,” Bulris said.

Black suggested that educators spend time on mental illness when students are in eighth grade.

She further stressed that teachers have the responsibility in the classroom of correcting language. Perhaps the language doesn’t hurt the majority of students who are privileged not to suffer from a mental illness, but for the children who are afflicted, the stigma can be emotionally painful, even abusive. It is also likely to affect individuals with family members diagnosed with a mental illness.

Panelists said Hollywood and the media do not help the situation when they sensationalize aspects of mental illness and only play up the dramatic symptoms.

“We are going to chip away at the stigma by changing the conversation,” Black said.

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


M_H_Driver 2 years, 7 months ago

In a general hospital waiting area, one side marked "physical health clients" and the other side marked "mental health clients", be sure to sit on the mental side. This human condition is not contagious and most of the talk will make you feel that your life has been very easy. You'll note how concerned persons can be for others despite their own problems. Neither side of the room is for the "ill" (supposedly lessor, not normal, perhaps evil) persons nor do they intend to be "consumers", "users", "recipients", or have "issues." Yet both sides are "struggling", "with problems" , "humans" and "clients" who are not very “patient,” yet, able to wait. It's hoped they’ll all be "survivors" after "suffering" so many tags. A very kind person, well-meaning and quite learned, can be fooled by common tags into spreading prejudice. No one can declare they'll "fight the stigma" of any tag without spreading the tag-prejudice by their own words.


HaroldAmaio 2 years, 7 months ago

Yes, it is about the words we use. Yours are not exemplary.

Harold A Maio


Sign in to comment