Mental Health Awareness

Schizophrenia Stigmas
January 15, 2009, 3:50 am
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Schizophrenia Stigmas

This is an informational video about Stigmas of Schizophrenia from the Health Channel. The purpose of this problem is to identify common stigmas of the disease, and raise awarness of the problem in believing these stigmas.


News from NAMI
January 12, 2009, 9:52 pm
Filed under: awareness, stigma

 PTSD’s Purple Heart

A Department of Defense (DOD) advisory group has recommended that current DOD policy not be changed to allow Purple Heart medals to be awarded to soldiers stricken with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The current policy bestows the medal only on soldiers who are “physically” wounded in the line of duty.

Read the story in the New York Times and an excellent editorial in the Kansas City Star. DOD’s current policy is as much an outrageous “slap in the face” to soldiers and veterans with PTSD as General George Patton’s slapping of a soldier with “shell shock” was in World War II.

DOD can still reverse its policy, despite the advisory group’s decision. Please contact the Secretary of Defense and tell him it’s time to end stigma and discrimination against soldiers with PTSD. Their wounds are real.

Mailing Address

The Honorable Robert M. Gates
Secretary of Defense
The Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301-1000

Contact DOD Online

DOD Online Question/Comment Form

Telephone Number

DOD Public Affairs “Leave a Recorded Message” Line
703-428-0711 (not toll-free)

Hi, Ho: Free Teleconference on January 27

The federal government’s “ADS Center” which supports the fight against stigma and discrimination is holding an online teleconference on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM (Eastern Time) on how to promote acceptance of people with mental illnesses in the work place.

Registration is free. Anyone can submit questions in advance for speakers to consider. Not all questions will be used in the teleconference, but contact information for speakers will be available. The Center will email registrants further information before that date.

Get involved and make a difference…
January 9, 2009, 7:19 pm
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Get Involved With Mental Health

Do you want to take action to remove stigma at your school? We get a lot of requests from people wondering what they can do to educate students on their campuses. One of the best ways to remove stigma is peer to peer education. Here are some ideas you can do at your high school or college:

Bring a Speaker – Have a speaker give an assembly to your whole high school or speak to for certain events on your campus. You can check out our speakers or write to us for more information.

Start an Active Minds Chapter – If you’re in college then this is the perfect time for you to form a group to educate others. Active Minds on Campus is a student-run mental health awareness, education, and advocacy organization designed for the college campus. The group’s mission is to utilize peer outreach to increase student’s awareness of mental health issues, provide information and resources, encourage students to seek help, and serve as a liaison between students and the mental health community. To start an Active Minds chapter on your college campus, check out

Start Your Own Mental Health Group – If your school doesn’t have a mental health awareness group and you want them to, find other students who share this interest, get an advisor and start your own group. You can work with the counseling center to find resources and work together on promoting events.

Organize a mental health fair – It can be held at the student center, in the quad, or a similar well-trafficked area. Ask mental health professionals to volunteer their time to be on hand to answer questions about mental health. Distribute information about mental health and mental illness. Offer professional mental health screenings

Observe Mental Health Weeks and Days – Mental Illness Awareness Week occurs during the second week of October, and May is Mental Health Month. You can create a mental health awareness campaign to commemorate either of these dates. During these campaigns, offer resources of warning signs, statistics, where students can get help, and tables where students can make stress balls, get a massage to relieve stress, trace their bodies on paper to promote healthy body image or other various interactive activities.

Partner, Partner, Partner – If you can’t start your own group or even if you do, make sure you work with other groups like SADD, Peer Helpers, fraternities, sororities, athletes, student council or whomever you can to have them tie mental health awareness into their drug, alcohol, sexually transmitted illnesses or any educational issue by using relevant statistics like 66% of young people with a substance use disorder have a co-occurring mental health issue. You can also tie mental health into freshman orientations, after a tragic event on campus or even around stressful times like finals, midterms etc.

Speak to classes – You can ask to speak about mental health or your experiences on behalf of your new group to health classes, psychology classes, or any other class you feel is appropriate. If someone wants to speak about their personal experience they should have the permission and guidance of a mental health professional or counselor.

Organize a walk or run – Organize a walk, run or other event to raise money for mental health awareness. Use the money to expand your outreach or donate the money to a local mental health organization or national mental health organization that you would like to support.

Work with your counseling center to start a support group – Coordinate with your counseling center or local mental health professionals to organize a support group for students or members of your sorority to discuss their problems or a specific problem i.e. eating disorders, depression, abuse, divorce, etc.. The group will need to be supervised by a mental health professional (psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker or anyone qualified). If organizing your own group through the guidance of a professional isn’t available, then find out where support groups meet and provide information on the groups to students.

Make posters – You can make posters to place around your campus that highlight statistics, warning signs or disorders, ask questions or give someone the ability to write down most of their thoughts when suffering with a mental disorder. The goal of the posters should be to encourage people to seek help and know they’re not alone.

Provide resources – Contact a local chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Mental Health America, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, the Suicide Action Prevention Network, Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, Yellow Ribbon, or other groups to find free local mental health resources and promote those resources to the school.

Reach out to Parents – Ask the administration at your school to start sending home warning signs of mental disorders and resources available for students who may be suffering to help educate parents on mental health issues.

Write an article – Contact your school newspaper and write a relevant article on mental health issues or even possibly share your own story. You can tie this into mental health days or weeks or any events you may be doing at your high school or college.


January 5, 2009, 11:38 pm
Filed under: awareness, stigma | Tags: ,

Violence and mental illness
December 21, 2008, 1:28 am
Filed under: awareness, Education, Resources, stigma | Tags: , , , , ,

Violence and Mental Illness: The Facts

The discrimination and stigma associated with mental illnesses largely stem from the link between mental illness and violence in the minds of the general public, according to the U.S. Surgeon General (DHHS, 1999). The belief that persons with mental illness are dangerous is a significant factor in the development of stigma and discrimination (Corrigan, et al., 2002). The effects of stigma and discrimination are profound. The President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health found that, “Stigma leads others to avoid living, socializing, or working with, renting to, or employing people with mental disorders – especially severe disorders, such as schizophrenia. It leads to low self-esteem, isolation, and hopelessness. It deters the public from seeking and wanting to pay for care. Responding to stigma, people with mental health problems internalize public attitudes and become so embarrassed or ashamed that they often conceal symptoms and fail to seek treatment (New Freedom Commission, 2003).”

This link is often promoted by the entertainment and news media. For example, Mental Health America, (formerly the National Mental Health Association) reported that, according to a survey for the Screen Actors’ Guild, characters in prime time television portrayed as having a mental illness are depicted as the most dangerous of all demographic groups: 60 percent were shown to be involved in crime or violence. Also most news accounts portray people with mental illness as dangerous (Mental Health America, 1999). The vast majority of news stories on mental illness either focus on other negative characteristics related to people with the disorder (e.g., unpredictability and unsociability) or on medical treatments. Notably absent are positive stories that highlight recovery of many persons with even the most serious of mental illnesses (Wahl, et al., 2002). Inaccurate and stereotypical representations of mental illness also exist in other mass media, such as films, music, novels and cartoons (Wahl, 1995).

Most citizens believe persons with mental illnesses are dangerous. A longitudinal study of American’s attitudes on mental health between 1950 and 1996 found, “the proportion of Americans who describe mental illness in terms consistent with violent or dangerous behavior nearly doubled.” Also, the vast majority of Americans believe that persons with mental illnesses pose a threat for violence towards others and themselves (Pescosolido, et al., 1996, Pescosolido et al., 1999).

As a result, Americans are hesitant to interact with people who have mental illnesses. Thirty-eight percent are unwilling to be friends with someone having mental health difficulties; sixty-four percent do not want someone who has schizophrenia as a close co-worker, and more than sixty-eight percent are unwilling to have someone with depression marry into their family (Pescosolido, et al., 1996).

But, in truth, people have little reason for such fears. In reviewing the research on violence and mental illness, the Institute of Medicine concluded, “Although studies suggest a link between mental illnesses and violence, the contribution of people with mental illnesses to overall rates of violence is small,” and further, “the magnitude of the relationship is greatly exaggerated in the minds of the general population (Institute of Medicine, 2006). Other risk factors have more to do with violent behavior such as past violent victimization, lack of social supports, and substance abuse,. (Hiday, 2006; Swanson, J. et al., 2002).

In addition:

  • “Research has shown that the vast majority of people who are violent do not suffer from mental illnesses (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).”
  • “. . . [T]he absolute risk of violence among the mentally ill as a group is still very small and . . . only a small proportion of the violence in our society can be attributed to persons who are mentally ill (Mulvey, 1994).”


People with psychiatric disabilities are far more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violent crime (Appleby, et al., 2001). Researchers at North Carolina State University and Duke University found that people with severe mental illnesses, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or psychosis, are 2 ½ times more likely to be attacked, raped or mugged than the general population (Hiday, et al., 1999).

People with mental illnesses can and do recover. People with mental illnesses can recover or manage their conditions and go on to lead happy, healthy, productive lives. They contribute to society and make the world a better place. People can often benefit from medication, rehabilitation, talk therapy, self help or a combination of these. One of the most important factors in recovery is the understanding and acceptance of family and friends.

  • “Most people who suffer from a mental disorder are not violent — there is no need to fear them. Embrace them for who they are — normal human beings experiencing a difficult time, who need your open mind, caring attitude, and helpful support (Grohol, 1998).”


American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Fact Sheet: Violence and Mental Illness. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Appleby, L., Mortensen, P. B., Dunn, G., & Hiroeh, U. (2001). Death by homicide, suicide, and other unnatural causes in people with mental illness: a population-based study. The Lancet, 358, 2110-2112.

Corrigan, P.W., Rowan, D., Green, A., et al. (2002) .Challenging two mental illness stigmas: Personal responsibility and dangerousness. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 28, 293-309.

DHHS. Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, 1999.

Grohol, J. M. (1998). Dispelling the violence myth. Psych Central. Available:

Hiday, V. A. (2006). Putting Community Risk in Perspective: a Look at Correlations, Causes and Controls. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 29, 316-331.

Hiday, V.A., Swartz, M.S., Swanson, J.W., et al. (1999). Criminal victimization of persons with severe mental illness. Psychiatric Services, 50, 62–68.

Institute of Medicine, Improving the Quality of Health Care for Mental and Substance-Use Conditions. Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine, 2006.

Mental Health America. American Opinions on Mental Health Issues. Alexandria: NMHA, 1999.

Monahan, J. & Arnold, J. (1996). Violence by people with mental Illness: a consensus statement by advocates and researchers. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 19, 67-70.

Mulvey, E. P. (1994). Assessing the evidence of a link between mental illness and violence. Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 45, 663-668.

Pescosolido, B.A., Martin, J.K., Link, B.G., et al. Americans’ Views of Mental Health and Illness at Century’s End: Continuity and Change. Public Report on the MacArthur Mental health Module, 1996 General Social Survey. Bloomington: Indiana Consortium for Mental Health Services Research and Joseph P. Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 2000. Available:

Pescosolido, B.A., Monahan, J. Link, B.G. Stueve, A., & Kikuzawa, S. (1999). The public’s view of the competence, dangerousness, and need for legal coercion of persons with mental health problems. American Journal of Public Health, 89, 1339-1345.

New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America. Final Report. DHHS Pub. No. SMA-03-3832. Rockville, MD: 2003.

Swanson, J.W., Swartz, M.S., Essock, S.M, et al. (2002).The social-environmental context of violent behavior in persons treated for severe mental illness. American Journal of Public Health, 92, 1523-1532.

Wahl, O. (1995). Media Madness: Public Images of Mental Illness. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Wahl, O.F., et al. (2002). Newspaper coverage of mental illness: is it changing? Psychiatric Rehabilitation Skills, 6, 9-31.

For more information about how to address discrimination and stigma, contact the SAMHSA Resource Center to Address Discrimination and Stigma (ADS Center), a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services at, e-mail, or call 800–540–0320.


Meeting your match!
December 20, 2008, 1:06 am
Filed under: awareness, Education, stigma | Tags: , ,

Mental Health Stigma Meets Its Match

by Kathi Stringer

It was a cloudy day as the silver bird emerged from the clouds into a flight pattern. The aviator flipped the switches to prepare for landing. He checked his altimeter, leveled out the machine and touched down after a smooth decent. It was a perfect landing. The engine sputtered as he taxied down the runway. With experience and ease the aviator manipulated the rudders until the plane swung next to a hatch.

This story took place in a small peaceful town. Most of the residents knew each other on a first name basis. However, that day there was a problem. The sheriff responded to a call concerning a vagrant loitering on a city bench. He had seen his kind before on routine patrol. On occasion his task was clear up the bothersome vagrants when they appeared. The city just didn’t put up with the unsightly trash and his job was to keep the city safe.

The man looked disheveled and worn. His face sprouted wiry hairs in contrast to his sunken eyes. It appeared he was dazed or perhaps lost in thought. Either way, he looked impaired and that made him dangerous. He had to go.

The law inquired as to the identity of the demented. He responded, “Howard, my name is Howard Hughes.” The sheriff chucked, “Yeah right, I’m the Easter Bunny.” He opened the rear door of the squad car and ran him in. The man continued his resolve as to this identity. It wasn’t going to well. He must be drug addict or completely psychotic. The man was put behind bars to keep the town safe.

A few hours later a sheriff’s friend rang his office for a friendly chat. In passing the sheriff rolled his eyes and said, “You won’t believe who I have here today, Howard Hughes.” It was a good chuckle for both of them. On the uptake his friend thought he might have a look at the stranger anyway. I mean after all, he was the junior vise president for a small satellite division of Hughes Aircraft, which was the main employer in town. It should be entertaining regardless.

Art Kemper, the Hughes executive arrived. Nicely groomed and professionally dressed, he looked at what appeared to be a homeless nobody. His wrinkled clothes matched the man’s foul appearance. Art introduced himself as a Hughes Aircraft executive and the inquired as to his name. The lost soul glanced up from this bunk and replied, “I’m Howard Hughes.” Art admitted he had never seen Howard Hughes before, but he did have one additional question that would clear things up. Art humorously asked, “Well now Howard Hughes, that is if you are really Howard Hughes that is, who do I work for? The vagrant’s eyes became focused and steely as he replied, “You work for Dan Ferguson, and Dan Ferguson works for Hal Thomas, and Hal Thomas works for Ed Mason, and Ed Mason works for Noah Dietrich, and Noah Dietrich works for me.” The sheriff grinned as he turned to look at Art. However, Art was not smiling. Something looked wrong. He looked financially terrified in response to stranger’s reply. The words did not come as his eyes motioned to the sheriff there may be hell to pay. “My God Mr. Hughes,” said Art in all sincerity. “It was an oversight. I’m so sorry! Sheriff, you had better let this man out of jail. If he wanted to, he could lay this whole town to waste with the flick of a pen.” Stunned, the sheriff was stunned.

The vagrant climbed into his plane and with the turn of the switch power surged into the engine. He was Howard Hughes, a record-breaking aviator, inventor, playboy and billionaire. He was one of us.

Jan 9, 2003

Compliments of Kathi Stringer
Kathi’s Mental Health Review


A couple links..
December 15, 2008, 9:10 am
Filed under: Resources, stigma | Tags: , , ,


For a Pdf. of more posters and banners like this.. go here..

For a confidential depression screening.. go here..