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Overcoming Stigma

Get treatment.
You may be reluctant to admit you need treatment. Don't let the fear of being labeled with a mental illness prevent you from seeking help. Treatment can provide relief by identifying what's wrong and reducing symptoms that interfere with your work and personal life.

Don't let stigma create self-doubt and shame.
Stigma doesn't just come from others. You may mistakenly believe that your condition is a sign of personal weakness or that you should be able to control it without help. Explore getting help.

Don't isolate yourself.

If you have a substance use disorder, you may be reluctant to tell anyone about it. Your family, friends, clergy or members of your community can offer you support if they know about your mental illness. Reach out to people you trust for the compassion, support and understanding you need.

Don't equate yourself with your illness.
You are not an illness. So instead of saying "I'm a drug user” say that you are a person with substance use disorder.

Join a support group!


Speak out against stigma.
Consider expressing your opinions at events, in letters to the editor or on the Internet. It can help instill courage in others facing similar challenges and educate the public about mental illness.