Behavioral Health


Help Us Create a Stigma-Free Arizona

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is paving the way to a stigma-free Arizona, and we can't do it without you.

How is stigma harmful?

Stigma, both self-directed and from others, is the negative attitudes and behaviors toward people experiencing mental health issues and substance use disorders. Stigma prevents people from getting the help they need. Over 50% of people experiencing mental health issues don’t seek help. Stigma and fear of others finding out is listed as a primary reason for nearly 25% of those people.
Sad young woman feeling lonely crying about relationship problems

Help us end stigma!

Step 1: Watch the video and learn about stigma.

Step 2: Download our Person-First Language Guide and start practicing today.

Step 3: Take the pledge to support a #StigmaFreeAZ.

Step 4: Share on social media how you are supporting a #StigmaFreeAZ.

Pledges made so far and still counting!

Fostering a Stigma Free AZ Together

Behavioral health conditions can happen to anyone

Many people incorrectly assume people with mental illness or substance use disorder are to blame for their disorder.
1 in 7 people say they have experienced substance use disorder and at least 1 in 5 adults live with a mental health disorder.
These are health problems just like diabetes or cancer and should be treated with the same importance and care.

Mental health stigma versus fact

There are many misconceptions about depression, anxiety, and suicide. Knowing the facts empowers you to take care of your mental health and fight social stigmas.
  • Clinical depression is not something you can outwork, outmuscle, or outthink. It is a medical condition that may require treatment from your doctor.
    Antidepressants alter the specific brain chemistry that affects mood. Rather than changing your personality, they might help you feel more like yourself again.
    While depression has profound effects on mood and emotions, it can also produce physical symptoms. Some people experience headaches, stomach upset, body aches, loss of sleep, and loss of appetite in the wake of depression.
    It’s normal to feel down at times, but temporary sadness or periods of grief are different from lingering clinical depression. Sad events can exaggerate symptoms in a person who is already at risk for depression.
  • A panic attack can temporarily raise blood pressure. Since fainting is associated with a sudden drop in blood pressure, this is not a common side effect of a panic attack.
    A provider will tailor treatment to an individual’s specific needs. In many cases, treatment focuses on a person’s current responses to emotions, worries, and behaviors rather than what happened in the past.
    Avoiding anxieties or their causes can actually reinforce or worsen them, making you feel powerless. A behavioral health provider can work with you to provide strategies for coping with situations that make you feel stressed or nervous.
    Medication alone can be effective, but cognitive behavioral therapy — a form of talk therapy described as “problem-focused” and “action-oriented” that addresses specific worries and behaviors — can be equally or even more effective, either on its own or in addition to medication.
  • Suicide is a concern across all population groups, affecting all genders, ethnicities, ages, and socio-economic groups.
    When someone is in crisis, the issues they struggle with – whether real or perceived – feel too big to manage. Another person’s ability to respond to the same issues is irrelevant.
    Not everyone with a mental health condition considers suicide, nor is every person thinking of suicide mentally ill.
    People who end their lives by suicide cannot find any other way out of their suffering. They choose suicide because they feel helpless and hopeless, not because they don’t want to live.

Additional Resources

Take the StigmaFree Quiz from the National Alliance on Mental Illness to see if you might be affected, and sign the pledge to help end stigma.
Make a difference by visiting Stamp Out Stigma’s national campaign and download their person-centric language guide.
Find a Mental Health First Aid class and learn how to help people experiencing an emerging mental health situation or crisis.

Promote a Stigma-Free AZ

We invite you to get involved in furthering our efforts to reduce stigma and help Arizonans access behavioral health care and resources.