The Challenge: Social Stigma
A study on stigma concluded “there is no country, society, or culture where people with mental illness have the same societal value as people without mental illness.”
Nearly one-third of Americans have worried about others judging them when they told them they have sought mental health services, and over a fifth of the population have even lied to avoid telling people they were seeking these services.
- Will I be treated differently?
- Could I lose friends?
- Will it impact my job or livelihood?
Unfortunately, stigma, prejudice, and discrimination against people with mental health and addiction challenges remains a very real problem in our world.
Studies on stigma show that while people generally accept the medical or genetic nature of a mental health disorder and the need for treatment, many have a negative view of the individuals living with mental illness. And, stigma not only directly affects individuals with mental illness but also the loved ones who support them, especially family.
People with mental health and addiction challenges who share their recovery experiences is the primary evidence-based practice to reduce stigma. To that end, Rogers’ works to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and addiction through community collaborations aimed at illuminating effective treatment and recovery practices. Evidence-based initiatives include:
- Oversight of Wise Initiative of Stigma Elimination (WISE)
- The power of story
- Compassion Resilience
- Safe Person and Seven Promises
- Strategies for recovery
- Up to Me
Rogers Foundation specifically supports one individual whose mission is to expand the Up to Me program in the community and online. In this series of classes, facilitated groups of teens or adults explore the move towards strength-based self-stories, pros and cons of disclosure, and a helpful process of decision-making about whether, to whom, and how to talk about one’s experiences.