Mental illness stigma: concepts, consequences, and initiatives to reduce stigma

Eur Psychiatry. 2005 Dec;20(8):529-39. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2005.04.004. Epub 2005 Sep 19.


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Rights*
  • Power, Psychological
  • Self Efficacy
  • Social Support*
  • Stereotyping*