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Advocates: Facing the Stigma of Mental Illness

If you have any concerns about mental illness for yourself or a family member, we encourage you to contact a professional.

What is the effect of stigma on advocates?
It is important to understand the effects of stigma, both on those we care about, and on everyone else. "People who have identities that society values negatively are said to be stigmatized."* Sometimes that stigma is extended to include family and friends, too ("stigma by association", Thornicroft, G., 2006). This may result in anxiety and depression in family members.

Families may also perceive their own loved ones negatively. They don't know who to blame. If the behavior is not in the 'sick person's control', they are less likely to be unsympathetic. If there is no blame involved, family members will tend to feel less impact.They may also be concerned that talking about symptoms with the ill family member will make matters worse (Thornicroft). Should families discuss the potential of suicide? Negative media stories show less hope for recovery and families may not realize that some recovery is very possible. There are many discouraging factors that can be overcome.

Resources for advocates

Click here for more about the effects of stigma on family members, friend, or community member.
Read about public attitudes about mental illness.
Read about famous people with mental illness. Be sure you understand that people with mental illness can be talented, contributing members of society. These individuals need your support and encouragement to succeed.
Click here for more support groups in Michigan, at Common Ground. for support about mental illness.
Click here for the government's SAMHSA Anti Stigma page.
Read about the AWAKENINGS PROJECT and  the ADS Center where art is recommended to counter discrmination in mental illness.
Proceed to Community/Professional resources.


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