Stigma Ribbon

Stop the Stigma

The Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity in the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine works collaboratively toward equal treatment of mental health and substance use disorders through targeted efforts to aggregate and elevate parity implementation, conduct research that informs mental health policy, and engage key stakeholders to advance mental and behavioral health equity. 

What is Mental Health and Mental Illness?

The first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health (1999) defined mental health as “the successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with others, and the ability to adapt to change and to successfully cope with adversity. The report also defined mental illness as “health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior (or some combination thereof) associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.”  One in five adults and one in six youth in the United States experience a mental illness in any given year.  With proper diagnosis and treatment, 80-90% of persons living with a mental illness can live healthy, functional lives.  Unfortunately, only about half of those persons are accessing mental health treatment.  Oftentimes, the populations most in need pf mental and behavioral health and substance abuse treatment services have the most difficulty accessing them. 

The Role of Stigma

Stigma, or negative attitudes toward mental illness, exists from the individual level all the way up to the cultural and policy levels.  Health care providers must be just as comfortable in recognizing and appropriately referring patients presenting with mental health and substance use disorders as they are for concerns with conditions of the heart, lungs, kidney, skin, or liver. 

The Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity stands with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI),  supports their Stigma Free social media campaign #CureStigma and their partnership with CBS News to produce the special “Stop the Stigma.”


If you or someone you care about may be struggling with mental illness, you can:

  • Call the Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL) at 1-800-715-4225
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Contact the Morehouse Healthcare Department of Psychiatry at: Our specialists are trained to help patients who battle depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, problems with drug and alcohol addiction, and many other disorders.
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