Division of Behavioral Health Services

Fight Stigma

A quote from Bill Clinton.

People with mental disorders must often cope with the sting of social stigma in addition to their illness. Those with mental disorders have long staggered under the weight of negative attitudes and beliefs that cause others to fear them, avoid them and shun them.

Why should we care?

Stigma shapes how people interact with those with behavioral health challenges. Stigma keeps others from socializing with those with mental illness. Some landlords won't rent to someone with mental illness; some employers won't hire them.

Negative public perceptions sometimes hamper a persons' access to housing, employment and funding for care. The discrimination associated with stigma can seriously affect a person's willingness to seek, or continue, treatment for mental illness. Stigma can erode a person's self-esteem and sense of dignity so that shame prevents them from seeking help.

Who is affected by behavioral health disorders?

1 in 4 people are affected by behavioral health disorders any day. This includes friends, family, co-workers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, athletes—it can be anyone!

What would it look like if everyone with mental illness lived in one state?

What does mental health look like?

The number people with a diagnosable mental illness couldn't live in one state. The 57.7 million people with mental illness are greater than the populations of California, New York, Rhode Island and the U.S. Virgin Islands combined.

Mental Health: Everyone Has It!

Reducing stigma and promoting inclusion is a societal responsibility takes all of us. Wellness, for each of us, includes physical health and mental health. Every human being – no matter their age, gender, ethnicity, orientation or income - has mental health.

Arizona's Statewide Initiative to Reduce Stigma

In an effort to reduce stigma and build a greater sense of community that supports people with mental illness and substance use disorders, the Arizona Department of Health Services/Division of Behavioral Health Services (DBHS) implemented a statewide stigma reduction initiative. The Arizona Stigma Reduction Committee (ASRC) was established to lead the change.

Join the Movement!

Overcoming stigma and increasing community inclusion starts with you and grows from there. You can start by simply being more aware of the languagePDF you use. Then educate yourself and others about mental health and learn the many more thingsPDF you can do to help fight stigma!

You Can Help Fight Stigma

  • Know the facts about mental illness and substance use disorders.
  • Educate others - share what you've learned.
  • Invite the Arizona Stigma Reduction Committee (ASRC) to conduct a presentationWord or an Arizona Dialogue for your organization, association or faith community.
  • Choose your words carefully - language matters.
  • Be aware of your own attitudes and behavior - recognize the signs and get help if you need it.
  • Be supportive and compassionate with people who experience behavioral health challenges.
  • Encourage people in their recovery.
  • Welcome everyone to your community and place of worship.
  • Hire people in recovery from behavioral health challenges.
  • Take care of your mental health just as you do your physical health.
  • Volunteer your time and skills to help behavioral health organizations.
  • Make financial donations to non-profit behavioral health organizations serving your community.
  • Donate clothing and household items to nonprofit organizations.
  • Fight Stigma: Articles of Interest
  • Fight Stigma: Arizona & National Resources

Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, 1999
Penn & Martin, 1998; Corrigan & Penn, 1999
Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America Final Report, July 2003