Campaign Launched to Counter Stigma of Mental Illness and Addiction

June 19, 2014  
Filed under Health & Wellness

The Brattleboro Retreat recently announced the launch of a broad-based media campaign designed to raise public awareness and reduce the social stigma associated with mental illness and addiction.

The campaign, known as Stand Up to Stigma, includes a variety of messages that provide fact-based information aimed at countering the stereotypical myths that often surround psychiatric and addictive disorder,s as well as the people affected by them. As a part of the campaign, the Retreat has launched to offer more information regarding mental illness and addiction stigmas.

“The biases toward mental illness and addiction have deep cultural roots that have been growing for centuries,” said Robert E. Simpson, Jr., president and chief executive officer of the Brattleboro Retreat. “We feel our mission calls us not only to provide excellent clinical care for our patients, but to help shift attitudes toward a more respectful, informed, and compassionate way of thinking about mental health that is free of judgment, fear and misinformation.”

Mental illnesses are among the most common health disorders worldwide. In any given year, one in four Americans will experience a diagnosable mental illness. Each year, one in 10 young people experiences a period of major depression. Yet, less than one in five children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems receives needed treatment, according to the Retreat.

Stand Up to Stigma addresses many of the commonly held misperceptions about mental illness and addiction by pointing out that these disorders are quite common, that people who suffer from them can be treated successfully and enjoy successful careers and meaningful personal lives, that individuals with psychiatric and addictive disorders come from all walks of life and that suffering from a mental illness or addiction has nothing to do with a person’s character.

“Stand Up to Stigma takes a pretty unfiltered look at many of the common myths people associate with mental illness,” said Konstantin von Krusenstiern, vice president of Strategy and Development at the Retreat. “We spell out these stigmas very clearly. They are rarely said aloud, but they serve as damaging undercurrent in many conversations and interactions. By stating them clearly, we hope to lessen their power and highlight their faulty logic. Then, we provide fact-based statements in order to educate.”


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