By Amanda Kearney-Smith
Last week we discussed the acronym U.N.I.T.E (http://www.theravive.com/end-stigma/) as a campaign to end stigma that started in Canada.
The “U” stands for “understand” and so this blog focuses on using knowledge as a powerful tool for breaking down stigma.
When it comes to (well a lot of things) stigma – knowledge is a powerful tool. As a mechanism to break down the walls created by misinformation – facts about mental health can be useful. A very common statistic that people in the advocacy world use is – 1 in 5 people experience a mental health issue in any given year – that’s 43 million Americans¹.
Most people don’t realize how prevalent mental health conditions are and using this statement can help add perspective. Once in a legislative hearing I literally had a local senator say “I’ve never known anyone who had a mental illness”. I was so surprised by this comment – it really woke me up to the fact that people are misinformed!
There are some good reputable websites out there with statistics you can use, here are a few:
What is even more impactful than statistics are personal stories!!! Facts and figures are useful, but even more important are real stories from people who live with mental health issues. Check out week four’s blog for more on how you can create a “recovery story” from your own experiences!