We endorse a society that is free from the stigma and discrimination of mental illness
If you agree with the following position statement and wish to join our campaign, please complete the form below.
We understand the negative impact that stigma and discrimination has towards people living with mental illnesses, those who care for them and as a society at large.
We recognize that stigma and discrimination
• affects the basic human rights of those living with mental health challenges, including their right to be treated with dignity and respect,
• serves as an impediment to live full, meaningful and productive lives in the community,
• hinders recognition, open acknowledgement, and effective management and recovery of their lives,
• affects the allocation of resources for effective diagnostic, treatment and community support services,
And we support and participate in this campaign so that ultimately, discrimination is eliminated and stigma is not tolerated.
Recommendations (not required actions):
1. To have an Anti-Discrimination Policy which is reviewed and signed by all employees/volunteers.
Example: The employer is an "equal opportunity employer." The employer will not discriminate and will take "affirmative action" measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, recruitment, advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, upgrading, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, creed, color, national origin, medical conditions (mental or physical) or sex.
2. Participate in $5 Dress Down Day; employees who donate $5 to International Bipolar Foundation are granted a dress down day as per company policy. Funds collected are used in our anti-stigma campaign.
3. To be an active Myth-Buster
Myth #1: Psychiatric disorders are not true medical illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. People who have a mental illness are just "crazy."
Fact: Brain disorders, like heart disease and diabetes, are legitimate medical illnesses. Research shows there are genetic and biological causes for psychiatric disorders, and they can be treated effectively.
Myth #2: People with a severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia, are usually dangerous and violent.
Fact: Statistics show that the incidence of violence in people who have a brain disorder is not much higher than it is in the general population. Those suffering from a psychosis such as schizophrenia are more often frightened, confused and despairing than violent.
Myth #3: Mental illness is the result of bad parenting.
Fact: Most experts agree that a genetic susceptibility, combined with other risk factors, leads to a psychiatric disorder. In other words, mental illnesses have a physical cause.
Myth #4: Depression results from a personality weakness or character flaw, and people who are depressed could just snap out of it if they tried hard enough.
Fact: Depression has nothing to do with being lazy or weak. It results from changes in brain chemistry or brain function, and medication and/or psychotherapy often help people to recover.
Myth #5: Schizophrenia means split personality, and there is no way to control it.
Fact: Schizophrenia is often confused with multiple personality disorder. Actually, schizophrenia is a brain disorder that robs people of their ability to think clearly and logically. The estimated 2.5 million Americans with schizophrenia have symptoms ranging from social withdrawal to hallucinations and delusions. Medication has helped many of these individuals to lead fulfilling, productive lives.
Myth #6: Depression is a normal part of the aging process.
Fact: It is not normal for older adults to be depressed. Signs of depression in older people include a loss of interest in activities, sleep disturbances and lethargy. Depression in the elderly is often undiagnosed, and it is important for seniors and their family members to recognize the problem and seek professional help.
Myth #7: Depression and other illnesses, such as anxiety disorders, do not affect children or adolescents. Any problems they have are just a part of growing up.
Fact: Children and adolescents can develop severe mental illnesses. In the United States, one in ten children and adolescents has a mental disorder severe enough to cause impairment. However, only about 20 percent of these children receive needed treatment. Left untreated, these problems can get worse. Anyone talking about suicide should be taken very seriously.
Myth #8: If you have a mental illness, you can will it away. Being treated for a psychiatric disorder means an individual has in some way "failed" or is weak.
Fact: A serious mental illness cannot be willed away. Ignoring the problem does not make it go away, either. It takes courage to seek professional help.
Myth #9: Addiction is a lifestyle choice and shows a lack of willpower. People with a substance abuse problem are morally weak or "bad".
Fact: Addiction is a disease that generally results from changes in brain chemistry. It has nothing to do with being a "bad" person.
Myth #10: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), formerly known as "shock treatment," is painful and barbaric.
Fact: ECT has given a new lease on life to many people who suffer from severe and debilitating depression. It is used when other treatments such as psychotherapy or medication fail or cannot be used. Patients who receive ECT are asleep and under anesthesia, so they do not feel anything.
(source: National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) )
4. To use respectful Language
- don’ t use generic labels: “retarded,” “our mentally ill”
- don’t use psychiatric diagnoses as metaphors: “schizophrenic situation”
- don’t use offensive words: “psycho,” “loony,” “crazy,” “wacko,” “slow,” “crackpot”
- don’t refer to a person as diagnosis: “he’s bipolar,” instead say, “he has bipolar disorder”
5. Praise those who combat discrimination and stigma
6. Report those who are discriminatory and not respectful of differences
International Bipolar Foundation thanks you for your support.