SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)
Stamp Out Stigma
Stamp Out Stigma is a mental health consumer-driven advocacy and educational outreach program. It strives to make positive changes to the public perception of mental illness and to inform the community about the personal, social, economic, and political challenges faced by people living with mental illnesses.
Stigma is not just a matter of using the wrong word or action. Stigma is about disrespect. It is the use of negative labels to identify a person living with mental illness. Stigma is a barrier. Fear of stigma, and the resulting discrimination, discourages individuals and their families from getting the help they need. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and olderabout one in four adultssuffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year; however, almost half of these individuals do not seek treatment.
Stamp Out Stigma was formed in October 1990 by a group of individuals, diagnosed with mental illnesses, who were dismayed at how the media portrayed people with mental illnesses. Individuals with poor mental health often are portrayed as violent, unproductive, uneducated, dangerous, and an economic drain on society.
Stamp Out Stigma provides educational outreach to the community to dispel negative myths and stereotypes. They also help to create a more informed and supportive community. Stamp Out Stigma spreads their message and personal experiences by communicating directly with the community. They form an interactive panel of four to six speakers who are living with mental illnesses. These speakers share their personal stories with the audience.
To date, Stamp Out Stigma has made over 1,000 presentations, reaching over 60,000 people throughout Northern California. Their diverse audiences include:
- Civic clubs
- Colleges, high schools, and middle schools
- County boards of supervisors
- County mental health boards
- Graduate schools in psychology and social work
- Physicians and hospital administrators
- Police and fire departments
- Schools of dentistry, medicine, and nursing
- Suicide prevention centers
- Television and radio talk shows.
Stamp Out Stigma also has presented workshops at national conventions, including a conference sponsored by the FBI to develop a training manual for 14,000 law enforcement agencies whose staff members regularly interact with people who have psychiatric disabilities.
As a result of their participation in the program, many Stamp Out Stigma panelists have gained confidence and have found employment within local community agencies.
If you would like to schedule a panel presentation, start a Stamp Out Stigma organization in your community, or learn more about Stamp Out Stigma, please contact:
Carmen Lee, Director, CarmenSOS@aol.com, 650-592-2345, 1633 Sixth Ave, Suite 7, Belmont, CA 94002; Internet: http://www.stampoutstigma.net/aboutus.html.