Be Cautious About Overstating and Reinforcing Stigma - Mental Health

Top Storytelling Tips

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  1. Balance depictions of stigma
    1. Watch out for narratives that overemphasize stigma, judgment, or mistreatment toward people with mental health challenges, which can prevent viewers from speaking up if they are struggling.

Data suggests that people may perceive more stigma against mental illness than actually exists. Whether or not those fears are valid, fear of judgment can be a barrier to speaking up and getting help. While prejudice and stigma do exist, we don’t want to reinforce — or introduce — the idea that people who struggle with mental health will be judged, rejected, or mistreated.

When talking about stigma or discrimination, be careful not to exaggerate the frequency or severity of judgment or mistreatment: 

  • Use the growing body of data on people’s attitudes and beliefs, expert guidance, and stories from people with lived experience to accurately represent stigma in the context of your project. 
  • Show people overcoming stigma by being more informed, compassionate, and empathetic.

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more in part 6