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Mental Health Discrimination and Stigma Reduction

Last updated: 22 February, 2023

Nearly a billion people experience mental health issues globally, making it one of the most common human experiences. Yet, the negative stigma around those of us experiencing mental health issues is widespread and often leads to discrimination.

The impacts of stigma may have wide-ranging negative consequences on the person experiencing mental distress. Often, it prevents them from speaking out and seeking support.

But, there is a growing international push – from researchers, subject matter experts, and grassroots organizations – to stop this mental health-related stigma and dismantle the discriminatory barriers affecting people, so that they feel empowered to talk openly about their experience and seek support. Leading the way are innovative digital programs, strategies and campaigns that are tackling the issue head-on.

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Anti-Stigma Campaigns




See Me (Scotland)


National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) United States


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#EndTheStigma is one of the most used hashtags related to mental health stigma on Instagram.
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the #TimetoTalk hashtag was written by Robin Williams’s daughter, Zelda Williams. #TimeToTalk Day is on Thursday 2 February 2023.
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#MentalHealthMatters was first used in 2014 by the United Nations Economic and Social Affairs Department for National Youth Day
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a hashtag used by various countries focussing on ending mental health stigma throughout the year. Countries include New Zealand, and the UK
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a pan-European week dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues. Supported by Mental Health Europe (MHE) as a path to awareness and action.
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a hashtag used by numerous countries focussing on ending mental health stigma throughout the year.

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National programs and strategies


Opening Minds is the largest systematic effort in Canadian history focused on reducing stigma related to mental illness. It targets youth and workplaces, offering digital tools to support their efforts.


See Change is a programme by Shine that aims to spread awareness of mental health illness and combat stigma in Ireland through national campaigns with a strong digital focus. 

See Me is a movement to end stigma across broad communities in Ireland. With online resources, social media campaigns, and in-person and digital events.


The National Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Strategy (currently in draft form) is part of Australia’s mental health reform agenda. The Strategy includes priority actions that include using digital technologies to help promote supportive attitudes towards those experiencing mental health issues and reduce discrimination and stigma. 

StigmaWatch fights stigma by pushing back on inappropriate portrayals of mental health issues in the media. It allows Australians to report instances of stigmatisation found in the media through its online  channels.

Batyr runs digital and in-person programmes aimed at reducing mental ill health stigma for young Australians. 


One of Us promotes de-stigmatisation in Denmark through digital media campaigns and outreach to vulnerable communities. Their website is available in both Danish and English. 


Beyond the Label 2.0 is a nationwide campaign to fight stigma in Singapore and uses an online chat “helpbot” to bring help to hard to reach communities as well social media campaigns to raise awareness of the issue.

New Zealand

Nōku te Ao Like Minds is a New Zealand public awareness programme that aims to increase social inclusion and end discrimination towards people with experience of mental illness or distress. It does this through public awareness campaigns (including social media platforms), community projects and research.


Bravo is a campaign to end stigma in Mexico. It provides online resources for those seeking help and uses social media to highlight the issues facing those with mental health illness.

Hong Kong

Mind Hong Kong is an anti-stigma campaign targeting Hong Kong youth using youth-led digital programmes and tools, including a chatbot to support those seeking mental health support.

Spain (Catalonia)

Obertament is a Catalonia based anti-stigma programme targeting workplaces and schools. It runs social media and online campaigns and supports the media in creating people-first messaging.

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Current Global Initiatives

The Global Anti-Stigma Alliance is composed of 29 leaders and experts in the mental health field, representing 25 organizations across 14 countries and new members are welcomed.

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Victoria Hornby

CEO, Mental Health Innovations, UK

International Phone and Text Helplines

Victoria is CEO of Mental Health Innovations, the charity behind SHOUT, the UK’s first 24/7 crisis text service. From 2011 to 2017, she was Director of Programmes at The Royal Foundation, building a portfolio of projects including the Invictus Games, Coach Core, United for Wildlife and Heads Together.