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The Message: Help Stamp Out Stigma

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Mental health and addiction continue to be misunderstood and rarely spoken of in America. Yet in a given year, mental health issues will personally impact one in four people in the U.S. – approximately 25 percent of us. More than 22 million people have a substance use disorder.

Mental illnesses and substance use disorders – just like high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes – are treatable health issues. Stigma linked to mental health and addiction often keeps people from seeking the help they need – yet for those who do, recovery is possible. Please take the pledge, wear a wristband and talk about it.

The Facts

  • An estimated 26 percent of adults have a diagnosable mental illness in a given year; about 21 percent of children ages 9 to 17 have a diagnosable mental or addictive illness.

  • One in two of us will have a mental health issue during our lifetime.

  • Less than one-third of adults with a mental health issue will get help.

  • Up to 90 percent of those who get help are able to significantly reduce symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Why We Need to Talk

Just like any other illness, there are things a person can do to make life better and manage the symptoms. Recovery is possible. We must educate and motivate ourselves and others with that fact. We need to say something. There’s strength in talking about it.

Our Campaign

This important campaign was launched to reduce the stigma of mental illness and substance use disorders by talking about them. The name Stamp Out Stigma was selected to describe the campaign’s chief mission: to defeat the obstructive nature of mental illness and addiction stigma.

Through wearing a visual symbol (wristbands) and sharing our own stories, the campaign will help remove the stigma of mental illness and addiction and those barriers to health-seeking behavior. Green, the campaign color, was chosen because it stands for health and wellbeing.

The three R’s will help us successfully Stamp Out Stigma:

  • Recognize when you or your loved ones need help. Recognize the signs. Recognize when someone isn’t getting the help they need. Recognize when stigma is creating a barrier to care. Recognize the high prevalence of mental illness.

  • Reeducate others to help them learn there is help and hope. Reeducate yourself and others on mental and emotional health. Reeducate yourself and others on how to find the path to recovery and that it is possible for all. Reeducate yourself on resources: What are your current benefits? Who can you talk to? What can you do?

  • Reduce stigma. Reduce hesitation to seeking care. Reduce misunderstandings. Reduce bullying and insensitivity.

The Stamp Out Stigma Pledge

As a supporter to those who have a mental illness or substance abuse disorder, I understand the importance of recognizing the high prevalence of mental illness and substance use disorders. I also know that when recognition is coupled with reeducation and understanding, health-seeking action can be taken. These actions lead to recovery, which is possible for everyone.

The Three R’s (recognize, reeducate and reduce) depend on each other to effectively Stamp Out Stigma surrounding mental illness and substance use disorders. This is what I, as an individual, charge myself to do—to fully Stamp Out Stigma and clear the path to health-seeking behavior. It begins with me.

Person-Centric Language Guide

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Mental health issues and substance use disorders are very often misunderstood. One reason for this is the language used to describe mental illness and addiction or those who are affected by them.

Use the following guidelines and terms to appropriately write about mental illness and substance use disorders and those who experience them. These suggestions will also help you produce clearly written materials with understandable reading levels.

  • Conditions and disorders should not be capitalized. For example, major depression, unless used in a headline, should be lowercase.

    Exception: Capitalize any portion of a disorder name, which is a proper noun, such as Tourette’s syndrome or Asperger’s syndrome.

  • People should never be referred to as “schizophrenics,” “alcoholics,” “anorexics,” etc. People have disorders; they do not become a disorder. Instead, use such phrases as “people with schizophrenia” or “individuals who have anorexia.”

  • Terminology: Be sensitive to the use of words that connote negativity, such as “problem” to describe a medical condition.
    • Do not describe an individual as mentally ill.
    • Avoid descriptions that connote pity, such as afflicted with, suffers from or victim of.
    • Do not use derogatory terms, such as insane, crazy/crazed, nuts or deranged.

Reading Level Guidelines

It takes more than writing short sentences and choosing simple words to reduce reading level. Keep in mind the audience you are writing for and provide relevant information, clear terminology and a conversational—but factual—tone. Substitute the word “doctor” for “physician”. Another example is to use the word “drug” rather than “medication”.

Try not to use more than 15 words in a sentence. Also, be careful of overusing punctuation.

Finally, avoid using words that are three or more syllables. It often cannot be avoided when talking about diagnoses such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but you can limit the number of times the word is used throughout the piece.

Pledge Card

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The Pledge

As a supporter to those who have a mental illness or substance use disorder, I understand the importance of recognizing the high prevalence of mental illness and substance use disorders. I also know that when recognition is coupled with reeducation and understanding, health-seeking action can be taken. These actions lead to recovery, which is possible for everyone.

The Three R’s (recognize, reeducate and reduce) depend on each other to effectively Stamp Out Stigma surrounding mental illness and substance use disorders. This is what I, as an individual, charge myself to do—to fully Stamp Out Stigma and clear the path to health-seeking behavior. It begins with me.

2017 Awareness Calendar

PDF Download PDF of our 2017 Awareness Calendar

This year is filled with many speical dates devoted to raising awareness about important mental health, substance use disorder, and overall health issues. To make it easier for you we have created an awareness calendar to highlight these important days, weeks, and months. Be sure to mark the dates on your calendar so you can help us reduce the stigma and create a positive impact!

Check back with us on our Twitter and Facebook to see how you can get involved!

2016 Awareness Calendar

PDF Download PDF of our 2016 Awareness Calendar

This year is filled with many speical dates devoted to raising awareness about important mental health, substance use disorder, and overall health issues. To make it easier for you we have created an awareness calendar to highlight these important days, weeks, and months. Be sure to mark the dates on your calendar so you can help us reduce the stigma and create a positive impact!

Check back with us on our Twitter and Facebook to see how you can get involved!

Links

American Public Health Association

American Public Health Association

The American Public Health Association is the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world and has been working to improve public health since 1872. The Association aims to protect all Americans, their families and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health professionals and others who care about their own health and the health of their communities.

Visit apha.org for more info

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH TREATMENT SERVICES LOCATOR

The Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Use the locator to find alcohol and drug abuse treatment or mental health treatment facilities and programs around the country.

Find treatment at findtreatment.samhsa.gov

Center for Disease Control

Center for Disease Control

The Center for Disease Control Mental Health web site, which includes basic public health information on mental health, aims to foster collaboration and advancement in the field of mental health in support of Center for Disease Control's public health mission.

Visit cdc.gov for more info

Faces and Voices of Recovery

Faces and Voices of Recovery

Faces & Voices believes that our nation’s response to the crisis of addiction should be based on sound public health science and the grassroots engagement and involvement of the recovery community – people in recovery, their families, friends and allies – organized in identifiable and mobilized networks of recovery community and allied organizations that foster collaboration, advocacy and public education about the reality of addiction recovery.

Visit facesandvoicesofrecovery.org for more info

Mental Health America

Mental Health America

Mental Health America is the nation’s leading community-based network dedicated to helping all Americans achieve wellness by living mentally healthier lives. With 240 affiliates across the country, Mental Health America touches the lives of millions – advocating for changes in mental health and wellness policy, educating the public and providing critical information and delivering urgently needed mental health and wellness programs and services.

Visit mentalhealthamerica.net for more info

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Alliance on Mental Illness

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community for hope for all of those in need.

Visit nami.org for more info

National Institute of Mental Health

National Institute of Mental Health

The mission of the National Institute of Mental Health is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery and cure.

Visit nimh.nih.gov for more info

National Institute on Drug Abuse

National Institute on Drug Abuse

NIDA's mission is to lead the Nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction.

Visit drugabuse.gov/about-nida for more info

NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. By dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255), the call is routed to the nearest crisis center in our national network of more than 150 crisis centers. The Lifeline's national network of local crisis centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals day and night.

Visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org for more info

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Admistration

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Admistration

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Admistration was established in 1992 and directed by Congress to target substance abuse and mental health services to the people most in need and to translate research in these areas more effectively and rapidly into the general health care system. Over the years Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Admistration has demonstrated that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover from mental and substance use disorders.

Visit samhsa.gov for more info