What is stigma?

Stigma is defined as a sign of disgrace or discredit, which sets a person apart from others.

Mental health stigma can be divided into two distinct types:

Social Stigma- a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something, characterized by prejudicial attitudes and discriminating behavior directed towards individuals with mental health problems

Self-Stigma- the internalizing by the mental health sufferer of their perceptions of discrimination The effect- many people with serious mental illness are challenged doubly. On one hand, they struggle with the symptoms and disabilities that result from the disease. On the other, they are challenged by the stereotypes and prejudice that result from misconceptions about mental illness. 

Stigma brings experiences and feelings of:

  • Shame
  • Blame
  • Hopelessness
  • Distress
  • Misrepresentation in the media
  • Reluctance to seek and/or accept necessary help

Families are also affected by stigma, leading to a lack of support.

As a result, those who suffer from mental illness are often robbed of the opportunities that define a quality life: good jobs, safe housing, satisfactory health care, and affiliation with a diverse group of people.

Sources: CORRIGAN, P. W., & WATSON, A. C. (2002). Understanding the impact of stigma on people with mental illness. World Psychiatry, 1(1), 16–20. Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/why-we-worry/201308/mental-health-stigma

Pulaski County Statistics

Take a look at what’s going on in your community

  • Of Arkansas’s approximately 2.9 million residents, close to 116,000 adults live with serious mental illness and about 31,000 children live with serious mental health conditions.

  • In 2006, 376 Arkansans died by suicide. Suicide is almost always the result of untreated or under- treated mental illness.

  • Nationally, we lose one life to suicide every 15.8 minutes. Suicide is the eleventh-leading cause of death overall and is the third-leading cause of death among youth and young adults aged 15-24.

  • During the 2006-07 school year, approximately 40 percent of Arkansas students aged 14 and older living with serious mental health conditions who receive special education services dropped out of high school.
  • Arkansas’s public mental health system provides services to only 25 percent of adults who live with serious mental illnesses in the state.

  • Arkansas spent just $39 per capita on mental health agency services in 2006, or $108.1 million. This was just 0.7 percent of total state spending that year.

  • In 2006, 64% of Arkansas state mental health agency spending was on community mental health services; 32 percent was spent on state hospital care.

  • Nationally, an average of 70% is spent on community mental health services and 28% on state hospital care.

Mental health facts infographic National mental health statistics Learn more about mental illness stigma