STOPStigma Project

What is stigma against mental illness? 

Stigma against mental illness is defined as the negative beliefs, perceptions, and consequent discriminatory actions surrounding individuals suffering from mental illness. 

What does this project hope to do? 

This project is geared towards destigmatizing mental illness in healthcare providers. Too often, healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses are held to the highest standards of perfection both by ourselves, our peers and the public. This creates a culture of silence that keeps struggling individuals from seeking help. Compounding moral distress then transforms burnout to mental illness with sometimes deadly consequences as evidenced by the recent suicides of healthcare professionals in Fraser Health. This project hopes to drive culture change in making it okay to not be okay so that healthcare professionals access the wellness resources meant to support them before it becomes too late. 

What does the project consist of? 

This project consists of 5 main parts: 
  • A regular feature in the Doctor’s Digest on mental health/illness, wellness, stigma and burnout.
  • Building and maintaining the BH MSA Wellness committee webpage.
  • Anti-stigma marketing campaign.
  • Anti-stigma workshops.
  • Building and increasing awareness of the existing Peer Supporter program. 

Why does storytelling matter? 

By telling our stories, we make it okay for others to feel safe enough to tell their stories. This helps build a culture of trust, safety, compassion and empathy. It also directly challenges our ideas and beliefs about what mental illness looks like. 

What can I do to help? 

  • Share this website link.
  • Become aware of your own explicit and implicit biases against mental illness. 
  • Read about the lived experiences of not only healthcare providers but others as well who have suffered or continue to suffer from mental illness. 
  • Words have power. Be careful with your word choice because the way that we talk to each other will be the way that we talk to ourselves. 
  • Emphasize the positive aspects of living with mental illness and focus on how to support suffering individuals. 
  • Speak up if you witness stigmatizing attitudes and behavior. 
  • Tell your story. 

Where can I learn more? 

Great question! The Mental Health Commission of Canada offers a wonderful workshop called the Working Mind that targets stigma against mental illness in the workplace. One of the goals of the STOPStigma project is to bring this course to Burnaby Hospital in the new year. Stay tuned! 
In the meantime, the Centre of Addictions and Mental Health offers a free online course on understanding stigma that can be accessed here

How can I get involved in this project?

Contact Dr. Iram Yunus at to learn more. Let’s do this! 


Dr. Iram Yunus and Dr. Barry Rich - Retired Family Physician and Bipolar Disorder Advocate

#FTSintheZoom Video podcast with Dr. Maureen Mayhew with Physician Health Program

#FTSintheZoom with Dr Iram Yunus and Dr Nathalie Martinek - the Narcissism Hacker .

Stories & Articles

Physician Lived Experience with Burnout and Mental Illness

According to the Lancet Commission, one of the ways to combat stigma is to increase contact between individuals with lived experience of mental illness and those without. These are a collection of stories and articles written predominantly by physicians about their stories. These are your friends and colleagues. It may surprise you to learn how much someone might have or is struggling. But recovery is always possible. 
The hope in sharing these stories is that it helps physicians learn that it is okay to not be okay and to ask for help when needed. If you would like to contribute to this collection, please email Dr. Iram Yunus at Your posting can be anonymous if you so wish.