Government launches program to reduce mental illness stigma

Bonnie Belec
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A woman who was diagnosed with a mental health disorder says the stigma is alive and well.

Health Minister Paul Davis was at the Suncor Energy Fluvarium Monday morning to announce the province's new campaign to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Paula Corcoran addressed a group of people gathered at the Suncor Energy Fluvarium in St. John's Monday for the launch of a provincial government's campaign aimed at reducing stigma associated with mental illness and addiction.

Corcoran shared her personal story about how she became depressed, losing her house and friends.

Health Minister Paul Davis announced the province will commit to spend $900,000 over three years to address the stigma.

The campaign is being kicked off during mental health week.

More to come.



Organizations: Suncor Energy Fluvarium

Geographic location: St. John's

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Recent comments

  • Kin_Free
    May 06, 2014 - 07:21

    I have to agree with Frank on this. Smokers suffering from mental health problems are specifically targeted by the state for stigmatization and effectively excluded from mental health facilities (constructive exclusion due to smoke bans), to coerce anti-smoker compliance in the general public It is well known that smoking and nicotine provides a substantial benefit for the mentally ill and even improves cognitive function in those who do not suffer from mental illness. Around 90% of those with mental health problems smoke and they smoke heavily (self medication) yet they suffer LESS so-called smoker related illness than the general population! Until this coercive adherence to anti-smoker dogma is dealt with in a humane manner, 'reducing stigma' is a hollow hypocritical promise.

  • Frank
    May 05, 2014 - 17:28

    Governments spend money to reduce stigma of one group, (those with mental illness) and on the other hand spend money to promote stigma for another group (those who make personal choice to use a legal product; tobacco) Is it ok to "denormalize" someone for making an adult lifestyle choice? When faced with the choice of forced smoking cessation at a psych hospital or living with an untreated mental illness, many make the choice to not seek treatment, often with tragic results. You can't have it both ways Mr. Davis.

  • Harold A. Maio
    May 05, 2014 - 11:58

    Calling someone's prejudice against ne my "stigma" is offensive.

  • Robert
    May 05, 2014 - 10:17

    I will believe this when I see it. Government is hardly a poster child for supporting those with mental illness. I was a long time (30+) employee of goverment who was diagnosed with depression. I was terminated with a 33% wage reduction. I see this a more government hypocrisy. I hope I'm wrong.

    • Anon.
      May 05, 2014 - 11:22

      At least you got 33% Robert because you worked for the government ....I was dismissed form the private sector...with absolutely nothing ...I was told that because I was unable to do my job ( I am bipolar) ...they had no choice. Not only that, I had to endure the embarrassment of being fired and was referred to as a "mental case" took a very long time to find work again. That was the early 90's....I just hope things have improved. It still very traumatic for me when I think about it and how an employer could do this to someone.

    • Robert
      May 05, 2014 - 14:05

      I hear what you are saying Anon. I had two medical experts and two psychologists plus my family doctor all agree that there were no concerns with maintaining employment. I too find it next to impossible to find employment now.