What is stigma?

Stigma is the presence of negative attitudes, prejudices or false beliefs regarding someone else’s attributes, circumstances or health symptoms. In a mental health context, stigma often manifests as shaming or discrimination against those afflicted.

Why is stigma important?

Stigma may prevent a person experiencing a mental health issue from seeking help in a timely manner, potentially leading to poorer health outcomes. For example, employees might hide or ignore risks to their mental health for fear of negative repercussions such as being treated differently or losing their job.

Warning signs of workplace mental health stigma

  • Taking time off for any reason is seen as “weak”
  • Someone with a mental illness is called ‘dangerous’, ‘crazy’ or ‘incompetent’ rather than unwell
  • Stressed or exhausted employees are told to “toughen up”
  • Communication about whether someone is having a bad day or needs to take time away from work is discouraged
  • It’s questioned whether or not an individual is really struggling or is using mental health as an excuse to shirk responsibilities or get time off

How nilo.health can help

It’s important to create a culture where it’s safe to discuss mental health concerns without fear of stigma or discrimination. 

The nilo.health program “Talking about mental health at work” gives leaders and managers valuable advice on recognizing the signs of mental health struggle, reaching out to employees when there is cause for concern and responding when approached by an employee. Additionally, programs such as “Address your stress” and “Fix your work-life balance” help educate your staff on early intervention practices and focus on wellness.

One-on-one psychological support and webinars and group sessions on critical topics, such as DEI, round out the offering.

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