What is the 21-Day Stigma Challenge?

Stigma reduces the opportunities available to individuals experiencing mental illness and substance use disorder. They face discrimination in housing, employment and other life areas. They often experience biased interactions with healthcare and other providers. They can feel isolated, as people sometimes avoid being friends with them or welcoming them as neighbors, coworkers, or new family members.

People with mental illness and substance use disorders can internalize these experiences, become embarrassed, and experience lowered self-esteem. They begin to think “why try”: “why should I try treatment or try to live and work independently if I am not valued?” A local survey of over 1000 residents confirmed this in 2022, as 93% of respondents said that stigma is an obstacle to seeking treatment in Northwest Michigan.

Ultimately, stigma impacts a person’s health and wellbeing. It can reduce their quality of life and worsen their mental health and substance use challenges.

We believe individuals experiencing mental illness or substance use disorders are valued members of our communities and deserve better. This is why we created the 21 Day Challenge. By promoting awareness and triggering the actions needed, we aim to create fair, supportive and inclusive spaces in our workplaces, health care settings, schools, and community spaces. And, studies show that doing something for 21 days can create a habit. 

We believe that through an intentional collective effort we can create a habit of inclusion and end stigma

What does the 21 Day Challenge Involve?

Each day of the challenge focuses on a stigma-related topic and includes a selected set of resources we invite you to read and/or watch. There are also invitations to take action every day, reflection questions, a discussion board, additional resources to explore, and content to post on your social media. In other words, there are many ways to get involved, so choose your own adventure and don’t forget that each of these participation methods counts as an entry for one of the six $100 Gift Certificates! 

You can access the 21-Day Stigma Challenge content in several ways. Scroll down to find the 21 Challenge Days. Just click on the day and you will get access to the webpage content for that day. Or, if you registered for the challenge, you will receive a daily email that introduces you to the topic of the day and provides a link to the day’s webpage. You can also go to reducestigma.org which will bring you to this landing page. While there are dates associated with each challenge day, you are free to create your own path through this content. There’s no wrong way to engage with this challenge.! 

Have questions about the 21-Day Stigma Challenge? Just email us at [email protected].

Mark Your Calendar for these Stigma Challenge Events

If you pre-registered for the challenge, you have received calendar invites to the below already.

Join our Virtual Launch on May 1st from 12:00-1:00 pm et!

Want to talk to others about Fighting Stigma or your reactions to the Stigma Challenge topics?

Join one of our Virtual Conversation Cafes. Held on Mondays from 12:00-1:00 pm et in May. Click the button to get a Zoom link. Add this link to your calendar on May 6th, May 13th, and May 20th.

Join our Stigma Challenge Celebration Event on May 31 from 12:00-1:00 pm et.

Celebrate our successes, brainstorm next steps, and find out if you are one of the gift certificate winners.

Thanks for joining our collective effort to fight stigma!

Just click on a Stigma Challenge Day to learn more about that topic, find resources and action opportunities, and submit your engagement ticket for our gift certificate drawing. If you would like to receive the daily Stigma Challenge emails, and are not yet receiving them, please complete this registration form.

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The 21 Day Stigma Challenge is possible due to funding from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

Thank you to our sponsors:

District Health Department #10 Logo
Health Department of Northwest Michigan Logo