Friday, June 5, 2009

The Stigma of Mental Illness

Stigma is one of the greatest barriers to the treatment and recovery of mental illness. Here is one definition of stigma.

Stigma: an attribute, behavior or reputation which is socially discrediting in a particular way: it causes an individual to be mentally classified by others in an undesirable, rejected stereotype rather than an accepted, normal one.

One of our major initiatives at NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania is to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. We do this on an ongoing basis in a variety of ways.

Recently, we applied for and received funding from the Staunton Farm Foundation to produce a television talk show episode on stigma. Working with Mental Health American of Westmoreland County, we developed and filmed a 30-minute episode entitled The Stigma of Mental Illness on PCNC's regional talk show What's On Your Mind.

The episode, featuring NAMI Southwestern PA's Executive Director Chris Michaels (pictured below center) among other special guests, aired on May 18 and May 24. If you missed it, you can watch it on your computer by clicking here.

If you have trouble viewing it, you can download QuickTime Player in minutes at no cost by clicking here.

For more information on combating stigma, visit the Fight Stigma page of NAMI Southwestern PA's website.