Fighting the stigma caused by mental disorders: past perspectives, present activities, and future directions

World Psychiatry. 2008 Oct;7(3):185-8. doi: 10.1002/j.2051-5545.2008.tb00194.x.


People who live with mental illnesses are among the most stigmatized groups in society. In 1996, in recognition of the particularly harsh burden caused by the stigma associated with schizophrenia, the WPA initiated a global anti-stigma program, Open-the-Doors. In 2005, a WPA Section on Stigma and Mental Health was created, with a broader mandate to reduce stigma and discrimination caused by mental disabilities in general. In light of these important developments, and the growing public health interest in stigma reduction, this paper reflects on the past perspectives that have led us to our current position, reviews present activities and accomplishments, and identifies challenges that the Section members will face in their future efforts to reduce the stigma caused by mental disorders.

Keywords: Mental health related stigma; Open-the-Doors anti-stigma program; discrimination; stigma reduction.