What stigma looks like — and why it’s a problem
Mental health conditions are common and treatable. So why don’t we talk about them as openly as physical conditions like diabetes or asthma? Because of stigma — negative stereotypes about mental illness that persist both in and out of the workplace. People living with mental health conditions are frequently perceived as irresponsible, lazy, or dangerous. They may face rejection, bullying, and discrimination — because unlike physical health issues, mental health issues are often viewed as character flaws or personal weaknesses.
The truth is, many people living with mental health conditions are productive, reliable employees and leaders who live full and satisfying lives. But even in the most progressive workplaces, many employees keep their conditions secret. They may be afraid that being open about them will hurt their reputation, compromise work relationships, or even jeopardize their job. In fact, 8 out of 10 workers with a mental health condition say shame and stigma prevent them from seeking treatment.2 That’s why it’s so important to talk about mental health at work and create a culture of acceptance.