The challenge of stigma when providing support


When you find yourself providing support for someone who is experiencing mental health concerns or suicidal distress, you may soon realise how much stigma continues to be an issue in society. Stigma is when you or the person you support is treated badly or disrespected because of their mental health symptoms, distress or diagnosis. While many Australian communities are starting to understand mental health and wellbeing better, there are still many misunderstandings and prejudices that exist.


Stigma often comes from not knowing enough about mental health or suicide. You may encounter people having negative attitudes or beliefs that spread myths and misunderstandings, leading to unfair judgments. Recognising some common myths and misunderstandings about mental health and wellbeing is crucial so you can respond appropriately when you encounter them. We understand how hard it can be to deal with stigma. Our programs are designed to help you with strategies to deal with stigma and to understand these common myths and misunderstandings.

Stigma can have negative effects on both you and the person you support, such as:

  • Making it harder to seek help and support
  • Making the recovery process more challenging
  • Experiencing discrimination
  • Feeling lonely or isolated.


For some immediate advice on reducing and responding to stigma, check out the factsheet below. If you are supporting someone who has attempted suicide or a paramedic experiencing mental health concerns or suicidal distress, try our free programs for more strategies. You will also hear from experts and real stories from other families and friends going through similar challenges.

Download factsheet on stigma