Regardless of why and how they develop, mental health and substance use problems are health problems — just like cancer, arthritis, diabetes and heart attacks. So why are people with substance use and mental health problems looked upon differently? This question is at the heart of what stigma is all about.
The pamphlet uses plain language to talk about:
- the prevalence of substance use and mental health problems — it’s likely that you or a family member or friend will have a substance use or mental health problem at some time
- why people develop mental health and substance use problems
- what stigma is — negative attitudes (prejudice) and negative behaviour (discrimination) toward people with substance use and mental health problems
- the effects of prejudice and discrimination on people with mental health and substance use problems
- 7 huge things you can do to make a difference.
The pamphlet stresses the importance of using different language to talk about stigma: prejudice and discrimination. When we talk about negative attitudes and behaviour toward others based on their gender, sexual orientation, culture, race or religion, we use the words “prejudice” and “discrimination.” So let’s call stigma what it really is.