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Ideas on how to cope with the stigma should be something in the care manager’s toolbox to encourage treatment adherence. Listed below are ideas about how to help the individual with depression cope with the stigma of mental illness. Keep in mind that the stigma may prevent the individual with depression from speaking with a care manager.

Therefore, discuss the issue of stigma with all members of the treatment team and help the person with the strongest relationship to encourage the individual with depression to consider the following:

  • Get appropriate treatment and don’t allow the anticipation of the stigma prevent this from happening.

  • Surround yourself with supportive people, who will help prevent social isolation.

  • Make your expectations known; otherwise people may not know how to

support you.

  • You are not an illness, so don’t equate yourself with your illness.

  • Share your experiences.

  • Don’t let stigma create self-doubt and shame.

Motivational Interviewing is discussed in length in CMAG-2. Remember, the depressed individual may not want to acknowledge the disorder or the medications. A stigma of mental illness may be a great barrier to utilizing motivational tools. The individual with depression may feel as if motivational interviewing is very “prying” and may simply stop discussing issues with any member of the healthcare team attempting to motivate this individual to be adherent to the treatment plan. Therefore, it is critical that the individual’s goals be determined in their words and that he/she be encouraged to take one step at a time. Do not overwhelm the individual or expect relapse. Continue to be supportive and work towards change. Caution must be exercised against counseling. Incorporation of the care management team will be more effective. Find the one professional the individual feels close to and trusts. If that person is the care manager, then make sure all interaction is documented and communicated to the team.

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