Research shows that for some people, stigma and discrimination associated with a significant mental health problem is almost as difficult to manage as the experience of a mental health difficulty. Stigma can act as a barrier to seeking help, speaking out and recovery .
It may never be possible to totally eliminate inaccurate or hurtful comments, actions or headlines. However, it is evident that as people and their families speak up and out about their lived experiences, others listen. Many can relate with empathy to those experiences.
1 in 4 people will experience a mental health difficulty during their lifetime, according to the World Health Organisation. Research commissioned by See Change last year shows 4 in 10 people would conceal a mental health issue from their family, friends or colleagues. Stigma therefore may touch all of us in some way.
See Change Vision
See Change’s vision is that every person in Ireland can be open and positive about mental health, understanding it as a normal part of the ups and downs of life.
In May 2018, the See Change partnership rolls out the sixth annual Green Ribbon campaign. This year they are encouraging Ireland to End Mental Health Stigma. 500,000 Green Ribbons will be distributed nationwide free of charge in conjunction with hundreds of local and national events.
Green Ribbon is led by See Change ambassadors, a group of 60 people with experience of mental health difficulties, who share their stories to spark a national conversation. See Change ambassadors demonstrate how to start a conversation in homes, schools, colleges, workplaces and community based organisations.
This May, the ask is simple – wear the Green Ribbon and show your support for ending the stigma against mental health. Take two ribbons and start a conversation about it with someone you know.
Pick up a Green Ribbon in major Irish Rail stations or from your local Boots store. Green Ribbons are also available in a number of libraries, please see Seechange website for more details.
This article is courtesy of the Green Ribbon Team at See Change.
 Byrne, P. (2000). Stigma of mental illness and ways of diminishing it. Advances In Psychiatric Treatment, Vol. 6, 65-72.