Stigma Reduction Jen Horne

Reducing Stigma and Normalizing Mental Health 

“Sharing my story is important for those of us who go through trauma, tragic loss, frustrations, depression, or suicidal thoughts to find the hope and resources to not feel alone.”

There is a problem in our society recognizing the normality of dealing with mental health issues. These dark feelings can look different for everyone ranging from anxiety in your day to day schedule, to deep depressions that fluctuate with the change in seasons. Perhaps you have a hereditary chemical imbalance or are recovering from a recent traumatic event or loss in your life. Regardless of what type of mental health issue you are dealing with, the negative stigma given to these issues from society standards can be debilitating to your recovery. 

Stigma around mental health issues can be heavy, oppressive, and burdensome. It can feel scary and lonely, creating questions like “what’s wrong with me,” or “no one else can relate.” The fear of being judged or misunderstood is powerful due to unfavorable societal stigmas. Maybe you notice a shift or change in someone close to you but are unsure how to approach them and check in because of the difficult topic. 

Pierina Reyes and son bubbls

Every day, here at Building Hope we are trying our best to eliminate negative stigma around mental health issues. We refuse to keep this issue in the dark because in doing so, we perpetuate the idea that suicide and mental health issues are taboo and wrong to talk about.  You may mistakenly believe that your condition is a sign of personal weakness, or that you should be able to control it without help. Seeking counseling, educating yourself about your condition, and connecting with others who share in your journey can help you gain self-esteem and overcome destructive self-judgment.

One way we have focused on stigma reduction is asking members of Summit County to share their own personal experiences and mental health journeys in our Community Share series. Community Shares is a protected space for personal stories to be bravely shared with our friends, neighbors, coworkers, and acquaintances. 

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” Helen Keller

By openly being vulnerable and honest, we are hopeful the people of Summit County find these stories relatable and inspiring in their own mental health journey.  You are not alone. 

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness
  • 1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness
  • 17% of youth (6-17 years) experience a mental health disorder

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Article by Alyse Piburn, special projects writer for Building Hope Summit County. If you have a story to share, reach out to her at
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