SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)
The Anti-Stigma Project
The Anti-Stigma Project is part of On Our Own of Maryland, Inc., Marylands Statewide consumer/survivor organization. The project reduces stigma by raising awareness, facilitating discussion, searching for creative solutions, and educating the public. The Anti-Stigma Project works closely with the mental health community, including consumers, family members, providers, educators, administrators, and law enforcement representatives.
The stigma and discrimination that affect people who have mental illnesses are not only found in society at large, but within the mental health and addiction treatment/recovery communities.
In 1993, On Our Own of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Mental Hygiene Administration formed The Anti-Stigma Project to counter discrimination and stigma associated with mental illnesses. The projects workshops challenge participants to examine the impact of stigma on both their professional and personal lives. Workshops combine a variety of learning approaches such as group discussions, role-playing, and assessment surveys. Participants also have an opportunity to analyze videotaped interviews with people who have been affected by stigma.
Each workshop is team-facilitated by trainers with extensive and varied experience in mental health, addictions and recovery, and education and communications.
- Stigma in Our Work, in Our Lives, an interactive, half-day workshop designed to reduce stigmatizing behaviors, attitudes, and practices within the mental health and addiction treatment/recovery communities. Participants identify stigmatizing behaviors and attitudes and their impact on the design, delivery, and receipt of services, and they develop possible solutions and action steps.
- Stigma: Language Matters, a shorter, experiential workshop in which participants explore the power of language as it relates to stigma, develop alternatives to stigmatizing language, and learn to integrate these concepts into their professional and personal lives.
- Responding to Stigma: Effective and Applicable Strategies for the Workplace, a 4- to 5-hour workshop that applies a multilayered approach to identifying and implementing individual and systemic solutions and to developing anti-stigma principles to guide systems and organizations.
- Stigma: It Doesnt Discriminate, a 90-minute interactive session, offers six thought-provoking and realistic skits that take the audience on a journey through the many facets and faces of stigma, paying particular attention to the intricacies of language and culture.
To date, the workshops of The Anti-Stigma Project have been successful in countering stigma. In evaluations conducted during fiscal year 2006, Most of the workshop participants indicated that they would pass the information and concepts learned along to others, and 97 percent of the participants rated the workshops as excellent or good, stated Jennifer Brown, director of training and communications. Additionally, Anecdotal evidence shows that a majority of the participants see the workshops as an agent for concrete behavioral change.
Overall, the project has traveled to eight States and three countries and the projects training videotape, Stigma . . . in Our Work, in Our Lives, is being used in 40 States and 8 countries including Germany, Canada, Japan, Finland, Wales, South Africa, Chile, and Sweden.
For more information about The Anti-Stigma Project, contact Jennifer K. Brown, director of training and communications, On Our Own of Maryland, Inc., 1521 South Edgewood Street, Suite C, Baltimore, MD 21227; Phone: 410-646-0262, 1-800-704-0262, Fax: 410-646-0264, E-mail: email@example.com, Internet: www.onourownmd.org.