STAND UP TO STIGMA

The Power of Peers
Sharing Their Stories

Think of all the challenges you face every day. Taking the kids to soccer practice. Making sure your paycheck is deposited at the bank. Getting an oil change on the car. Paying your utility bills.

Now imagine you have someone telling you, “No, you’re not capable of doing any of these daily tasks. It’s too difficult for you. You’re not like everyone else.”

These are Stigmas.

Think of how people judge other people, especially when they first meet. You look at their clothes, their hair, the car they drive, how tall they are, how short they are, how young they are, how old they are, and . . . how they behave. We all do it. It’s human nature and is nothing to be ashamed about.

Now imagine you have a mental health diagnosis. And the person you’re just meeting knows it. And that’s the first thing that goes through their mind, and it colors everything and every judgment they make of you. The judgments revolve around misconceptions like “He’s violent” or “She’s not very smart” or “He’s not capable of doing whatever everyone else can” or “She’s not normal.”

These are Stigmas.

For those living with the challenges and triumphs of a mental health diagnosis, overcoming these stigmas is a daily challenge . . . in addition to soccer practice, the bank, care maintenance, and utility bills. People often believe a person with a mental health diagnosis is incapable of these tasks.

Every last stigma is wrong.

What to do?

That’s where Stand Up To Stigma plays an important role in our communities. While having a mental health diagnosis might make some daily tasks more challenging, and a person might seem “overly-emotional” or “kind of weird”, the stigmas that burden peers are unnecessary and uneducated.

Stand Up To Stigma knows that education is key, and through peers sharing their own stories and life experiences so many of these stigmas are proven false and baseless. Peers are people just like everyone else. In fact, it’s fair to say people are people just like everyone else.

Stand Up To Stigma provides peers the chance to tell their stories and life experiences through our many education programs so those who have a direct connection and influence in a peer’s life understand better what it’s like to live with a mental health diagnosis, and peers aren’t any different than anyone else.

Stand Up To Stigma is experienced in educating the public, legislators, policy makers, law enforcement, family members, first responders, lawyers, health care providers, employers, high schools, universities, and even other peers simply by helping empower peers trained as Stand Up To Stigma presenters to tell their stories and share their life experiences of living with a mental health diagnosis

We have one guiding principle at Stand Up To Stigma. Through education, discussion, and mutual understanding and respect . . .

Stigma Is Temporary.