A woman says,

The World Health Organization definesmental health as a "state of well-being" that enables a person to:

  • Recognize their own abilities

  • Manage the stresses associated with daily life

  • Work, study, or contribute to their community successfully

People with mental health conditions can experience this state of well-being, while people without mental illness can still experience mental health issues.

Even though mental health is a common concern, there's still a lot of stigma — or negative beliefs — about mental health issues or conditions. This stigma can lead to discrimination, or cause people to remain silent about their mental health.

There are things you can do to help reduce the stigma around mental illness and normalize mental health in your community.

Get Informed

There are all kinds of myths about mental health that contribute to the stigma:

Educate yourself about mental illness, including substance use disorders.

  • Are there books you can read?

  • Is there a documentary you can watch?

  • Is there someone you can ask?

Then share what you learn with others. It's easier to talk about difficult topics like mental health when it's not a time of crisis.

Observe Your Own Behaviour

Be aware of your attitudes and behaviors. Examine your own judgmental thinking.

Do you find yourself judging people who seem stressed? Try to catch yourself, and question why you're making this judgment.

Be mindful of how you speak. Choose your words carefully.

A simple thing like calling someone "crazy", even as a joke, can reinforce a negative stigma.

Photo by Septian simon on Unsplash


What words can you use to describe how someone is going through a mental health issue? Select all that apply.

Choose to Be an Ally

Mental illness is only part of anyone's larger picture. Focuson the positive, and offer support or encouragement to others — especially when you notice someone might be experiencing mental health challenges.

This can be as simple as a compliment: "Hey, that seemed like a tough situation. I think you did a really good job."

Invite others who aren't usually part of your inner circle to take part in activities. This can be as simple as inviting someone who isn't usually included to share a coffee with you and your friends.

A person on a bench in a forest. Photo by Timothy Paul Smith on Unsplash

Take Action

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What can you do differently today?

Is there someone in your life you could be more supportive of?


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