Stigma and Mental Illness

CHAIR: Graham Thornicroft Graham Thornicroft Address: Health Service and Population Research Department King’s College
London Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience De Crespigny Park London SE5 8AF
United Kingdom
Phone: + 44 20 7848 0736
Fax: +44 20 7277 1462

Norman Sartorius Norman Sartorius Address: Association for the Improvement of Mental Health Programmes, 14,
Chemin Colladon, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland    
Phone: 41 22 788 2331
Fax: 41 22 788 2334

SECRETARY: Heather Stuart Heather Stuart Address: Queen's University Community Health and Epidemiology Abramsky Hall,
Room 324 21 Arch Street Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6 Canada
Phone: +1 613 540 4767

>> Please click here to see the Section Members list


Stigma creates a vicious cycle of discrimination and social exclusion for those who suffer from a mental disorder and all of those who are associated with them. Stigma is the single most important barrier to quality of life of mental health consumers and family members—more so than the illness itself—and a major impediment to mental health reform and development. As the majority of people with a mental illness are now treated in community settings, negative public opinions can have potent consequences for them and their families. Consequences of stigma such as unemployment, lack of housing, diminished self-esteem, and weak social support can be major obstacles to recovery, influence long term prognosis, and promote disability. Stigma and the expectation of stigma can also produce serious disruptions in family relationships and reduce normal social interactions because of a desire for secrecy.


The Stigma Section of the World Psychiatric Association—through its network of international members--engages in activities designed to reduce stigma and discrimination because of mental disorders and improve social inclusion for people with mental illness and their families. More specifically the Stigma Section:

  • Disseminates information about stigma and discrimination because of mental disorders through academic and technical publications, and through symposia and courses offered at WPA regional meetings and congresses.
  • Advances scientific knowledge about stigma through collaborative research and evaluation.
  • Provides training opportunities to support the development of effective programs to fight stigma and discrimination because of mental disorders.

>> Publications (Books and Journals) of Members of the WPA Section on Stigma and Mental Disorders (up to 2006)

>> Section on Stigma and Mental Disorders, World Psychiatric Association Report

>> Section on Stigma & Mental Health-Action Plan 2014-2017

>> Section on Stigma and Mental Health- Members 2009-2013




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