Stomp Out Stigma of Mental Illness

October 1, 2018

Dear SHAC,

Recently I have been diagnosed with a mental illness and I expressed to my friends what I was diagnosed with. Now, I feel like our friendship is different. I was never aware of the stigma that surrounds mental health, however I now realize that it is alive and prominent. How do I deal with this and the label I feel that is written on my forehead?

Your UNM Lobo,




Dear Frustrated,

Look mental illness in the eye and tell it you don't define me. Image of a wolf.I am sorry that your friendship has changed. Unfortunately, many lack an understanding about mental illness. Through education, a willingness to talk openly with one another about mental illness and learn from one another can help break the stigma. Our ability to show compassion and empathy for one another helps us know we are not alone.

Additionally, your recent diagnosis does not define you as a person. You are much more than any diagnosis. It’s important to understand that this is something you suffer from NOT who you are. I would encourage you to consider getting involved in local support groups. UNM has a NAMI branch (National Alliance on Mental Illness) on campus that can connect you with peer support and advocacy. Click here for information. Additionally, UNM SHAC offers counseling services and has walk in hours Mon-Fri, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM.


Signing off, 


Your SHAC Counselor, 


Shannon Figueroa, LPCC