Distorted Perceptions: a campaign to challenge myths and misperceptions about mental illness and addictions

Distorted Perceptions

a campaign to challenge myths and misperceptions about mental illness and addictions 

 WHAT is stigma?

Stigma is a pre-determined attitude or belief about an individual or a group of people that often results in isolation, lack of opportunity, and discrimination. Stigmatizing behaviors can be subtle or blatant, intentional or unintentional, but in all its forms, stigma is damaging.

Who does stigma affect?
 WHO does stigma affect?

While stigma affects everyone, one of the most challenging problems facing our communities today involves the prejudice and discrimination against people with behavioral health disorders.  Within any given year, one in four Marylanders (more than 1 million people) lives with a behavioral health condition, and these stigmatizing attitudes and behaviors create significant barriers to their recovery.
HOW does stigma hurt individuals with behavioral health disorders?

Stigma is perhaps the single most significant barrier to recovery, resulting in feelings of isolation, hopelessness and helplessness. It undermines relationships and creates barriers to employment, housing, even access to quality medical care. Stigma is not simply a negative attitude or lack of “political correctness.” It can have life-threatening consequences.
HOW do I know when it’s stigma?


We have to make judgments all the time, and we strive to base them on current and accurate information.  However, stigma is a pre-judgment based on assumptions, not facts, and is often fueled by fear or ignorance. For example people often assume that individuals with a mental illness are violent, when the fact is that a person with a serious mental illness is much more likely to be the victim of a crime than to commit one.  Find out the facts.