Stigma is a negative stereotype of mental illness and substance use disorder. It occurs when someone is seen in a negative way because of his, her or their mental health condition. Sometimes, stigma is even an internal feeling in those with mental illness or substance use disorder.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), stigma surrounding mental illness and substance use disorder harms those people affected by mental health conditions. It can make people feel shame and prevent them from seeking help.
Combating stigma is important so that people with mental illness or substance use disorder feel comfortable seeking the treatment they need and deserve.