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What are the effects/impacts of Stigma?

Stigma and the resulting discrimination exclude people with mental illnesses from activities that are open to other people. Stigma hurts people in ways that are impossible to measure. 

Stigma limits a person's ability to:

  • get and keep a job
  • fit in at school without being bullied
  • find a safe place to live
  • attend college or university
  • receive adequate health care (including treatment for substance use and mental health problems) and other support
  • be accepted by their family, friends and community
  • find and make friends or have other long-term relationships
  • obtain insurance or loans
  • volunteer within their community
  • take part in social activities

Prejudice and discrimination often become internalized by people with mental health and substance use problems. This may lead us to self-stigmatize, meaning we:

  • believe the negative things that other people and the media say about us
  • have lower self-esteem because we feel guilt and shame

Prejudice and discrimination contribute to people with mental health and substance use problems keeping their problems a secret.

As a result:

  • we avoid getting the help we need
  • our mental health or substance use problems are less likely to get better, and in many cases get worse
  • we may become isolated, depressed and are at an increased risk of suicide
  • youth may experience increased drug abuse, suicide attempts and teen pregnancy
  • we may lose hope in our ability to recover

For More Information

Crisis Outreach and Support Team provides crisis intervention services to children, youth and adults experiencing a mental health crisis.

Pathstone Mental Health is the primary provider of children's mental health treatment in Niagara.

Contact Niagara identifies appropriate resources for children who experience emotional and behavioural difficulties.

The Canadian Mental Health Association supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing mental illness.

Provides 57 Mental Health beds and a Community Crisis Care Service between three locations in the Niagara region.

Community Addiction Services of Niagara provides access to treatment resources for individuals and their families with alcohol and drug concerns.

The Distress Centre of Niagara is a confidential telephone crisis intervention support service.

Health Services is a confidential and comprehensive service of professionals to manage the medical/health needs of Brock students.

Counselling Services offers free counselling for Brock students who are experiencing personal/social difficulties.

Kids Help Phone is a free, anonymous and confidential phone and on-line counselling service for youth.