In Their Own Words

““Stigmas speak to the idea of difference and

how difference shames us and those we know.”

– Michael Lewis, author

The best way to understand the kind of impact stigma has on people is to hear it from them firsthand. Mental health issues and substance-use disorders affect people from all walks of life: men and women, young and old, homeless and the wealthy, a veteran returning home from war, a mother suffering the loss of a child, a middle-aged person who has lost their job…substance-use disorders and mental health issues do not discriminate, but stigma does. Hear stories of the stigmatized to gain a better understanding.


Stigma can stem from this idea that this little piece of information tells you so much more about a person than it really does.


He wrote me off, like I was beyond help is how I internalized that. It definitely stuck with me when I was thinking about or even considering seeking help in the future.


One of the things I try to do to help myself and the people that come to my workshops is how to empower themselves so we’re not as affected by what you think about me


You have more power in this. Even with a mental health issue, you have more power than you realize… you can recover.


It was like my heart sank into my stomach and I thought, ‘This is what people think of me now, this is what I’ve become. If a doctor’s going to say that, then how am I going to get help?


I guess in a way I’m still serving my country by helping people who’ve been stigmatized, who have been challenged by this disease, to help break free.