Persons with mental illness frequently encounter public stigma and may suffer from self-stigma. This review aims to clarify the concept of mental illness stigma and discuss consequences for individuals with mental illness. After a conceptual overview of stigma we discuss two leading concepts of mental illness stigma and consequences of stigma, focussing on self-stigma/empowerment and fear of stigma as a barrier to using health services. Finally, we discuss three main strategies to reduce stigma -- protest, education, and contact -- and give examples of current anti-stigma campaigns. Well-designed anti-stigma initiatives will help to diminish negative consequences of mental illness stigma.