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Stigma Attached to Mental Illness

  • One out of five Americans will experience a mental disorder during their lifetime.
  • With proper treatment, most people with a mental illness recover quickly, and the majority do not need hospital care, or have only brief admissions.

Stigma is detrimental to the well-being of people with mental illness:

  • It affects their ability to obtain services.
  • The type of treatment and support may be limited by health insurance guidelines, which can be more restrictive for mental health conditions than physical conditions.
  • Impedes their acceptance in the community.
  • Rejection of people with mental illness inevitably spills over to the caregiver and family members.


  • Exist regarding various groups of people.
  • Your participation in the Compeer Program will provide you with the opportunity to challenge stereotypes associated with the issues of mental illness.
  • Individuals with mental illness are aware of the stereotypes and prejudice concerning mental illness.  Sadly, some individuals of mental illness my believe the stereotypes.  As a mentor, don't buy into the negativity and prejudice of stereotypes even if your Compeer does.
  • By sharing with others your own experiences with someone diagnosed with a mental illness, while maintaining the client's confidentiality, you will begin to dispel stereotypes and reduce the fears people have regarding mental illness.


Compeer, Inc. Volunteer Training Manual for Youth Programs
Reprinted with permission from Compeer, Inc., Rochester, New York

200 HARRISON STREET JAMESTOWN, NY 14701 (716) 487-2956 FAX (716) 484-3989

715 CENTRAL AVENUE DUNKIRK, NY 14048 (716) 366-7792 EXT. 208 FAX (716) 366-7840


2003 Southern Tier Environments for Living, Inc.  All rights reserved.