60% of people with a mental health problem or illness won’t seek help for fear of being labeled.
Opening Minds is the largest systematic effort in Canadian history focused on reducing stigma related to mental illness. Established by the MHCC in 2009, it seeks to change Canadians’ behaviours and attitudes toward people living with mental illness to ensure they are treated fairly and as full citizens with opportunities to contribute to society like anyone else.
Tackling stigma on multiple fronts
Opening Minds is addressing stigma within four main target groups: health care providers, youth, the workforce and the media. As such, the initiative has multiple goals, ranging from improving health care providers’ understanding of the needs of people with mental health problems to encouraging youth to talk openly and positively about mental illness.
Ultimately, the goal of Opening Minds is to cultivate an environment in which those living with mental illness feel comfortable seeking help, treatment and support on their journey toward recovery.
People living with mental health disorders often say the stigma they encounter is worse than the illness itself.
A number of programs across Canada are working on reducing stigma. Opening Minds has been evaluating more than 70 of these projects to identify those most effective at reducing stigma so they can be replicated across Canada. Evidence gathered through these evaluations will reveal best practices that will contribute to the development of anti-stigma toolkits and other resources, to be released soon.
At the same time, Opening Minds’ evaluation process is forging ties throughout Canada’s mental health field, creating a valuable network for sharing best practices and programs designed to reduce stigma.
Opening Minds Published Articles
- Reducing the Stigma of Mental Disorders at Work: A Review of Current Workplace Anti-Stigma Intervention Programs
- Mental disorders and their association with perceived work stress: An investigation of the 2010 Canadian Community Health Survey
- Reducing the stigma of mental illness in undergraduate medical education: a randomized controlled trial
- The Development and Psychometric Properties of a New Scale to Measure Mental Illness Related Stigma by Health Care Providers: The Opening Minds Scale for Health Care Providers (OMS-HC)
- Perceived discrimination among people with self-reported emotional, psychological, or psychiatric conditions in a population-based sample of Canadians reporting a disability
- Effectiveness of Contact-based Education for Reducing Mental Illness-related Stigma in Pharmacy Students
- Mental health practice and attitudes of family physicians can be changed
- The Hidden Medical Logic of Mental Health Stigma
- Mental health stigma and the mind-body problem: Making the case for strategic collusion
- Improving mental healthcare by primary care physicians in British Columbia
- A pilot study of the effect of exposure to stand-up comedy performed by persons with mental illness on medical students’ stigmatization of those affected
- Workplace Anti-Stigma Initiatives: A Scoping Study
- Reducing stigma toward people with bipolar disorder: Impact of a filmed theatrical intervention based on a personal narrative (abstract only available as open access)