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Stigma: The Facts

What is stigma?

  • Stigma (or prejudice) describes a negative and unfavourable attitude.
  • Stigma causes those living with a mental illness to be labelled, stereotyped, and feared.

What is discrimination?

  • Discrimination is the action that results from stigma.
  • It is how you treat those living with mental health issues because of how you think about them.

Why does it matter?

  • Many people living with mental illness say the stigma is worse than the illness itself.
  • Stigma is seen as one of the key barriers preventing people from seeking help.
  • Seven million Canadians will need help for mental health concerns this year alone.
  • Many will not get it because of the stigma attached to the illness.
  • Every single Canadian is affected by mental health issues – either directly with firsthand experience, or indirectly in someone they know.
  • Every day, 500,000 Canadians do not go to work due to psychiatric reasons.
  • Mental illness costs the Canadian economy an estimated $33 to $50 billion per year in lost productivity.

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