Speak Up: National Day Without Stigma

Today is National Day Without Stigma! I’m sharing some information put together by Active Minds. I hope you’ll join in and spread the word…

National Day Without Stigma is a program of Active Minds, Inc. that falls during Mental Health Awareness Week (October 5-11, 2014). National Day Without Stigma is part of an ongoing effort of Active Minds to open an informed conversation about mental health. We look forward to the day when everyone is comfortable talking about these issues.

As far-reaching and widespread as mental health issues are, we don’t talk about them nearly enough. So many of us are ashamed of our mental health struggles, paralyzed by fear, and unsure how to take the first step to speak up about mental health. National Day Without Stigma is that first step.

On Monday, October 6, 2014 I am joining advocates across the country to spread awareness of mental health and reduce stigma surrounding mental health disorders. As former President Bill Clinton said, “Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of but stigma and bias shame us all.”

My specific action to reduce stigma was to write and publish my memoir, Another Kind of Free: Suicide Prevention in the Wake of Robin Williams’ Death. My book is free on Amazon today. Please pick up a copy and write a review. (Reviews help books like Another Kind of Free stay at the top of Amazon’s lists so that people who need it know it exists.)

Facts:

  • The World Health Report defines stigma as “a mark of shame, disgrace or disapproval which results in an individual being rejected, discriminated against, and excluded from participating in a number of different areas of society.”
  • Only about 1 in 4 Americans agree that people are generally caring and sympathetic toward individuals with mental illnesses.1
    Slightly more than half of young adults who know someone with a mental illness believe that treatment can help people with mental illnesses lead normal lives.
  • 1 in 4 Americans have a diagnosable mental health disorder in a given year.
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