Get Informed! 2: Stigma


Stigma may be a word that is often discussed when talking about mental illness, but what does stigma mean and what does it look like when applied? Can you detect all the different forms of stigma? This exercise will help you to look at the many ways that stigma impacts people living with mental illness and those who are close to them by examining definitions of stigma and creating a personal reflection to a poem about stigma.


1. Take a look at this Understanding Mental Illness resource, and these definitions of stigma. What is stigma? Who is stigmatized? Who stigmatizes? Do those who stigmatize always intentionally mean to hurt someone?

2. Download the poem "Stop the Stigma" by Mary Hopkins. If you're not sure of the meaning for any of the words, use the the Mirriam Webster Dictionary to look them up.

3. After reading the poem, post a 500 word response in the Class Discussions section for this assignment. Be sure to select the appropriate assignment from the pulldown menu at the bottom of your submission. How did this poem make you feel? Did it make you think? Did you question your views about mental illness? What was the point the author was trying to make? Read and respond to at least one of your classmate's posts.

If you'd like to further explore the way that concepts of mental health and illness are affected by stigma, check out activity 3 in the Mental Health and Society Module: Mental Illness and the News.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the concepts of discrimination, prejudice and stigma
  • Understand different forms of stigma (moral judgments, physical isolation, treating people as useless, self-stigma and stigma by association)
  • Increase the ability to identify stigma in social settings
  • Increase critical and analytical abilities

Continue to Get Informed! 3: Experience with Mental Illness »

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