Room4Everyone is a community wellbeing campaign focusing on reducing stigma. The campaign is designed by Tri-City Mental Health Services to serve the communities of Claremont, La Verne and Pomona California.
The campaign message has three important parts, each believed to help eliminate stigma and save lives:
- First, with direct clinical services and community support programs, Tri-City Mental Health Services has a continuum of care that allows for Room4Everyone.
- Second, as a community, we seek to share facts about mental illness and increase compassion. As people grow in acceptance of differences, there becomes Room4Everyone.
- And finally, safe, stable, affordable housing is a crucial part of wellbeing. We value and understand the role that permanent supportive housing plays for both individuals and families who are receiving mental health care.
As a society, we have grown to value physical health and empathize with those who are ill. When people experience even subtle signs of physical health problems, they talk about it, monitor their symptoms, and seek help right away. However, when it comes to Mental Health, our society encourages silence! While there is a general understanding that our bodies can suffer illness, the idea that our minds can suffer the same fate is often rejected.
We must remember that there is no health without Mental Health.
What is stigma?
Stigma is best described as negative thoughts, feelings or beliefs about a person based on something that makes them different or sets them apart from others. They often feel judged, embarrassed, shamed and unwanted by others. Stigma is often experienced in the following settings:
• With friends and family who might be limited in their understanding of what the person is going through
• In the workplace, where an individual could be isolated from co-workers or passed over for promotion
• At school, where peers can behave cruelly toward someone simply because they are seen as behaving differently
• In the media, where mental illness is often sensationalized and sufferers are portrayed as violent or unpredictable
The effect of stigma in society
The effect of stigma on people dealing with mental health issues is often as painful as the mental disorders themselves. The stigma causes society to develop the following attitudes and actions toward people with mental illness:
• Violence against those with mental disorders
The effect of stigma upon people living with mental illness
• Be afraid to admit to having symptoms
• Put off asking for help
• Refuse to take medication
• Accept discrimination
Self-stigma occurs when people with mental illness take on the negative stereotypes of our society. This results in low self-esteem and robs individuals of quality of life. They usually withdraw from others and avoid social situations where they are afraid of what people will think about them. This makes it difficult for them to:
• Make friends and participate in social activities
• Develop and maintain long-term relationships
• Participate and contribute in their community
In some cases, stigma can lead to discrimination.
Discrimination occurs when someone withholds something from a person based on a factor that sets them apart or makes them different from others. Discrimination can make it difficult for a person to:
• Secure and maintain employment
• Find a safe place to live
• Receive adequate health care