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NAMI StigmaBuster Alert: February 28, 2008

Free Poster Fights Stigma: “Know Me as a Person”

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services offers free posters to fight stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. They are ideal for schools, offices, churches, libraries, community centers, hospitals, and other locations. The poster text is:

Know me as a person not by my mental illness

We are your friends, neighbors, and family.
We improve and recover.
We are major contributors to American life.
We deserve dignity and respect.

Copies can be ordered online or by calling toll-free the National Mental Health Information Center at 1-800-789-2647. Request inventory code OEL99-0001. Organizers of health fairs and other events are allowed to order larger quantities for distribution.

Northern Illinois University Tragedy

We know that the likelihood of violence by people with mental illness is low. In fact, the U.S. Surgeon General has reported that "The overall contribution of mental disorders to the total level of violence in society is exceptionally small." Acts of violence are exceptional. When they do occur, they are a sign that something has gone terribly wrong—often within the mental health treatment system. During the recent tragedy at Northern Illinois University (NIU)—less than a year after the Virginia Tech tragedy—many StigmaBusters offered their sympathy to families and friends of the victims. (The university has established a special scholarship fund in their memory.) Our concern also extends to all those students who live with mental illness in college communities. NAMI’s response to the tragedy offered recommendations for high schools and colleges.

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