How Harmful Is Stigma Toward Mental Health?

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:








Stigma comes from a lack of information. It’s more difficult to judge and stereotype something you have personal involvement with. Categorizing and characterizing people with mental illness is easier than taking the time to understand them or understand the mental illness they might be living with. A lack of education and awareness about mental health causes those who have mental health issues to suffer, in many ways. Stigma can prevent someone who is suffering from the symptoms of a mental illness from seeking the help or treatment they need. In recent years, stigma is what prevented the government and major insurance providers from recognizing mental illness as a serious medical issue. Today, awareness is increasing, but there is still much farther to go.

Michigan State University released a study which examined how much people seem to know about mental illness. Using an internet survey as the method, 4,600 people provided data for the researchers to work with. The survey was not simple question and answer. Instead, the researchers provided participants with vignettes, or small stories about a fictional individual. After the story, the participants were asked to provide insight on what might be going on with that person and what would provide the most help to them. Most importantly, the participants had to respond to statements regarding stigma. Bustle reports, “The questions to measure stigma asked participants to respond thinking about themselves and separately about their communities, to statements like ‘If [I/most people in my community] had a problem like [this person’s] I would not tell anyone.’”

The results were startling. It revealed that there aren’t just some areas of mental health that the general public needs more help in understanding. Bustle writes that the study “gave a big-picture look at just where more information needed to be targeted. Unfortunately, the answer seems to be “everywhere.”

  • 32% of participants were unable to identify the signs of prescription drug abuse
  • 80% of participants did not think that prescription drug abuse was an issue which could be successfully treated
  • Less than 50% of participants were able to recognize symptoms of anxiety
  • Almost none of participants knew how depression could be treated


If you believe you might be struggling with symptoms of a mental health disorder and are in need of treatment, don’t let stigma get in the way of healing. Call Avalon By The Sea today, one of California’s only primary mental health treatment facility. Together, we can fight stigma, find recovery, and heal. For a confidential assessment and more information, call us today at 888-958-7511

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