ORGANIZATIONS THAT FIGHT DISCRIMINATION AND STIGMA



 

Each of the organizations below has as one of its goals the reduction of mental illness stigma.  For some, stigma reduction is a major focus of their activities; for others it is one of many functions.  Descriptions below are taken from the organizations' materials.  To learn more about an organization, simply click on the name.
 
 

  The Resource Center to Address Discrimination and Stigma is program of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) aimed at assisting individuals and public and private organizations in creating programs and campaigns to reduce discrimination and stigma associated with mental illnesses.


   The goal of this German organization is to end discrimination against people living with mental illnesses.  Its activities include work with SANE (Stigma Alarm Network) to protest against stigmatizing and discriminating organizations and events and work with the World Psychiatric Association “Open the Doors” project to educate the public about mental illnesses.



  The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is devoted to legal advocacy for the civil rights and dignity of people with mental disability.


     This program, founded by former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, promotes awareness, initiates educational messages and symposia, and addresses public policy issues related to mental health on state, national, and international levels.  The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships in Mental Health Journalism selects, supports, and mentors journalists as they complete projects related to mental health.



The Center is a research, training, and service organization, affiliated with Boston University,that is dedicated to improving lives of persons who have psychiatric disabilities.  It publishes the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal and includes on its website information about the use of appropriate language to refer to people with psychiatric disabilities.


     The Chicago Consortium for Stigma Research (CCSR) is dedicated to understanding the phenomenon of stigma, developing and testing models that explain why it occurs, and evaluating strategies that help to diminish its effects.  In addition to numerous articles on stigma in professional journals, the Consortium has produced two important books on the topic—“On the Stigma of Mental Illness: Practical strategies for research and social change,” edited by Patrick Corrigan, and “Don’t Call Me Nuts!  Coping with the stigma of mental illness,” by Patrick Corrigan and Robert Lundin.  (See Recommended Readings).



   The DBSA is a not-for-profit, consumer-directed organization that works to foster understanding about the impact and management of depression and bipolar (manic-depressive) disorders.  DBSA works also to foster self-help, eliminate discrimination and stigma, improve access to care, and advocate for research regarding these disorders.



    This site is oriented towards those in the entertainment industry and offers information about mental illness and suggestions for ways to depict mental illnesses in order to help combat stigma. The site also includes a series of series of publications called Picture This in which experts of the field address key issues in mental health. For example, Picture This: Bipolar Disorder features important information on the nature of disorder as well as personal stories from people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. There are also similar publications that focus on depression and suicide prevention (Picture This: Depression and Suicide Prevention) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Picture This: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).



   Mental Health America is the United States' oldest non-profit organization addressing mental health and mental illnesses through education and advocacy.  MHA has over 340 state and local affiliates nationwide.  The organization was founded in 1909 by Clifford Beers, and its symbol is the Mental Health America Bell, forged more than 50 years ago from the iron chains and shackles that had been used to bind people in mental asylums.


       Mental Health Europe is a non governmental organization committed to the promotion of positive mental health, prevention of mental distess, advocacy, improvement of care, and protection of human rights.  The organization's site provides access to a network of organizations addressing the state of mental health in Europe.



    This organization’s stated goal is improvement in legal, medical, judicial, scientific, government, programmatic, political, and human rights for individuals living with mental illnesses.  It includes new items related to current issues in mental health and columns and will include a bulletin board for exchange of views from interested participants from the mental illness community.



   Mind is the leading mental health charity in England and Wales, and works for a better life for everyone with experience of mental distress.



  The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill is a large grassroots organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with severe mental illnesses.  The majority of its over 210,000 members are people who have relatives with mental illnesses, but a growing number of members are people who themselves have been diagnosed with psychiatric disorders.



   This is a consumer-run national technical assistance center serving the mental health consumer movement.  The Clearinghouse helps connect individuals to self-help and advocacy resources and offers expertise to self-help groups and other peer-run services for mental health consumers.



  The National Stigma Clearinghouse was created to track and respond to stigmatizing media images of mental illnesses and to provide information about stigma to concerned activitists.


      SANE Australia is a national charity helping people affected by mental illness, and works in partnership with a number of Australian and International Groups.



   SOS is a community advocacy and educational outreach program designed to positively change the public perception of mental illnesses and inform the community about the personal, social, economic and political challenges faced by people living with mental illnesses.



 This is an email network made up of those with experience with mental illness, family members of those individuals, and professional assistants developed by the Bavarian Anti-Stigma Action (BASTA).   Participants identify and respond to instances of discrimination against people with mental illnesses through e-mails, letters, faxes, or calls.



           This is an international organization, based in the United Kingdom, that is dedicated to fighting stigma and preventing discrimination and exclusion of those who experience mental illnesses.  Its efforts include the Defeat Depression Campaign and a published and on-line book, “Every Family in the Land: Understanding prejudice and discrimination against people with mental illness.”



   This site was established and maintained by an individual who has experienced mental illness.  The site is intended to illustrate the ways the media may foster prejudice and discrimination against those labeled as having a psychiatric disorder.  It contains many examples of media depictions of mental illnesses and discussion of the ways these depictions may affect public perceptions and public policy.



   The WFMH is an international, non-profit organization that works to advance, among all peoples and nations, the prevention of mental and emotional problems, proper treatment and care of those with such disorders, and promotion of mental health.  The organization’s focus is on global mental health, and it sponsors World Mental Health Day each year.  One of the WFMH’s other initiatives is theBreaking Through Barriers education campaign about depression, with information provided in several languages.




  This organization is concerned with the scientific and ethical advancement of psychiatry and mental health around the world.  In 1996, the WPA began an international Programme to Fight the Stigma and Discrimination because of Schizophrenia.  The programme is intended to dispel the myths and misunderstandings surrounding schizophrenia and mental illnesses in general.  The Open the Doors programme provides a model for establishing anti-discrimination an anti-discrimination programme and has been used in many countries.  A summary of the programme and its results in many different countries is contained in a book by Sartorius and Schulze, “Reducing the stigma of mental illness,” and is also available online.