Mental Health Stigma and What You Can Do About It

According to the CDC, Mental health stigma can be defined as prejudice, avoidance or rejection that a person feels from themselves or from others because of their mental health concern.

The harm of mental health stigma:

Stigma can prevent people from seeking help, from getting help when needed or not getting the kind of help a person needs.  This can have devastating consequences for individuals and the surrounding community.

Many forms of treatment including medications healthy lifestyle habits counseling and other options are available.

A common problem

  • 1 in 4 people have a mental health condition, and 1 in 2 US adults will experience a mental health condition at some point in their lives, according to the Centers for disease control.
  • Mental health concerns can get completely better somewhat better unchanged or in some cases, worsen; and can occur to people from all walks of life.
  • It is not a condition of the rich or poor or middle class or a certain race ethnicity or culture — a mental health condition can occur in anyone.

People with mental illness don’t always feel supported:

According to the Center for Disease control and Prevention,

  • About 1 out of 2 people believe that they are sympathetic towards persons with mental illness,
  • But only 1 in 4 people with mental illness feel that people are sympathetic towards them.

What you can do about mental health stigma:

According to the National Alliance for Mental illness suggests 3 steps to reduce mental health stigma:

  • Step 1: Educate yourself and others about mental illness.

A good resource is National alliance for mental illness ( and National Institute for Mental Health (

  • Step 2: See the person not the illness. Getting to know the person and their

story and treating them kindly can be helpful.

  • Step 3: Advocate for mental health by pushing for better policies, taking part in community programs that promote mental health.

Take the stigma free pledge:

Learn more about stigma related to mental illness:

Resources for mental health treatment:

  • Office of Student Life’s counseling and consultation service:
  • OSU Stress and Anxiety disorders Clinic ( )
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1800-273-8255
  • NAMI Support page:

Dr. R. Ryan Patel, DO FAPA, is a psychiatrist treating OSU students and their families using counseling, medications and healthy lifestyle habits at OSU’s Counseling and Consultation Service. He is also author of the blog:

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