Stigma refers to the negative internal attitudes and beliefs people hold toward something. Stigma can also be an amalgamation of ignorance, prejudice and discrimination. Discrimination is the external effect of the stigma that results in the denial of individuals their rights and social inclusion. Stigma and discrimination can be more detrimental to the individual than the actual mental illness. This is due to the withdrawal of support from loved ones and colleagues in addition to shunning and exclusion. Numerous misconceptions still exist about mental illness which leads to stigma and shame.
Stigma is disrespectful and is the number one barrier to treating mental health conditions.