Eliminating Stigma in Emergency Care

Persons with a mental illness have higher rates of physical illnesses and disability than people without a diagnosis. They often report that in a variety of healthcare settings, their medical concerns are discounted and their physical symptoms are ignored or misattributed to a mental illness.

Consequences of Stigma in Healthcare Environment

  • Individuals with a severe mental illness have a 2-4 fold increased risk of death.
  • While some of the increased mortality associated with mental illnesses is due to suicide and lifestyle factors (obesity, lack of physical activity and tobacco use), a substantial portion can be explained by differences in the amount and quality of treatment received by people with a mental illness, compared to the general population.
  • When physical ailments are not recognized and under-treated, they become more serious and costly.

Recovery Works

When a person receives adequate treatment and support, recovery rates for most mental illnesses range from 70-90%. There are a range of effective treatment for mental disorders.  Treatment must be accessible. Unfortunately, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 89.3 million Americans live in federally-designated Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas.

Talking about an illness reduces stigma and helps people cope with their illness, too.  Here’s an example from Susie, a pediatrician, talking about how her teenaged daughter sought help for her OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and how Susie struggled with the stigma.

If you are unable to view the video from this page, follow this hyperlink: http://www.rogersinhealth.org/resources/susie

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