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Reducing Stigma Around Mental Illness

An important way to reduce stigma around mental illness is to have open and honest conversations with your loved ones. Research states that it takes young people 6 to 8 years, from the onset of symptoms, to ask for help. By starting a conversation and providing support, your loved ones may be more likely to seek treatment sooner rather than later. Talking about mental health will help reduce the risk of consequences associated with untreated mental illness.

If you are concerned about someone in your life but not sure what to do, try taking these steps:
Find a time to talk privately, and share why you’re concerned. Ask questions that call for more than just a yes/no or one word response and then really listen.
Offer hope and support. Let them know that struggling with mental health is quite common and that people can and do recover.
Share resources. Offer information about where to find help. For example, visit to learn about local and national organizations providing mental health services.
Follow-up. Ask the person how you can help, and follow their lead about what is helpful.
Starting a conversation might be difficult, but it can be the most important one you have.

If you believe a loved one is at risk of suicide,visit to learn about the warning signs and how you can help.

Recovery is possible. Each Mind Matters has stories from real people who share their personal testimonies of hope and resilience in overcoming a mental health challenge. Visit to watch these powerful videos and consider sharing them with a person who you are concerned about.

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