News & Events

August 28, 2018

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: What people who experience stigma want you to know

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The #LookBeyond campaign is shaped entirely by the personal stories of people who’ve experienced stigma. What they shared in focus groups during the planning stages was so raw, so honest and so compelling that their words became the heart of the campaign. Listen:

  • I am not my diagnosis.
  • I am a human being, not a problem.
  • See me as a whole person.
  • We’re not so different; we’re all people with our own challenges.
  • There is no “normal.” Everyone has struggles and everyone has strengths.
  • Listen to me. Believe me. I can speak for myself.
  • It’s OK to ask for help.
  • Don’t isolate me. I’m not an outcast.
  • Look beyond the labels and see my talents and dreams.
  • Seek to understand before judging.
  • Everyone has a story. Ask me “What happened?” Not “What’s wrong with you?”
  • I am a valuable part of the community.
  • What we have in common is greater than any label.
  • I contribute. I volunteer. I give to others. I have so much to offer.
  • Learn about mental health, substance use disorders and developmental disabilities, so you can understand, respect and celebrate people living with these challenges.

You can read individual stories (and submit your own) here. If you haven’t yet taken the #BeStigmaFree pledge, you can do that here. And you can go here  to find resources for spreading the word and getting others to #LookBeyond stigma.


Thanks for listening!