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ONE OF US is a national anti-stigma program in Denmark. Our vision is to improve life for all by promoting inclusion and reducing stigma and discrimination connected to mental health conditions. It should be easier for people with a mental health condition to live a fulfilling life without experiencing discrimination, stigma and social exclusion.

Mental illness affects everyone

Mental illness are a public health challenge in Denmark. Statistically it is estimated that about 580.000 people in Denmark struggle with a mental illness and many among them have more than one diagnosis. For most people mental illness is temporary, but for others a mental illness is recurrent or long-lasting. Even though approximately 1 in 3 Danes are related to a person with a mental illness, we know too little about mental illness and mental health problems in general.

What is stigma?

The word ‘stigma’ means a mark of disgrace or disapproval that sets a person apart from others. When a person is labelled by their illness, they are no longer seen as an individual but as part of a stereotyped group and as their condition. Separation between groups, often termed us and them, is based on the belief that the labelled people are fundamentally different from non-labelled people. For example, people with schizophrenia are labelled as schizophrenic rather than as a person (ONE OF US) who is affected by a mental health condition.

Read more about stigma

Organisation of ONE OF US

ONE OF US is a nationwide program with targeted national, regional and local activities.

ONE OF US was officially launched in 2011. It is organised as a part of The Danish Health Authority, where the program is managed nationally. At the regional level ONE OF US is located in the regional divisions called PsykInfo (Psychiatric Information Centre) that are part of each of the five regions of Denmark. The national and regional levels of ONE OF US work closely together.

ONE OF US was formed by a wide range of public and private organisation in the field of mental health: The Danish Health Authority, TrygFonden, Danish Regions, the five regions, The Danish Mental Health Fund, The National Board of Social Services, The Danish Mental Health Network, KL and The Danish Committee for Health Education. 1. August 2021 ONE OF US went through an organisational change and integrated in the Danish Health Authority and the partnership became an advisory group.

Our objective and visions

It is the objective of ONE OF US to reduce stigma related to mental illness in Denmark. No more silence, doubt and taboo connected to a mental illness. We have a vision of a society, where everyone can be open about their mental health and where there is no shame associated with having a mental illness. Therefore, we work for a society with no more discrimination and exclusion of people who have or previously have had a mental illness. We do this by;

  • Increasing the knowledge about a life with a mental illness
  • Decreasing the distance between people with and without a mental illness, which otherwise leads to stigma, prejudices and social exclusion
  • Creating a better understanding of mental illness in schools, in health care, in workplaces and where ever else everyday life is lived

The purpose is to create a society where it is easier for an individual with a mental illness to live a good and meaningful life as an equal member of society; everyone is and should feel like ‘ONE OF US’.

The program has five overall target areas;

  • Service users and relatives
  • Young people
  • The labour market
  • Professionals in health and social services
  • The media and the public 

How to reduce stigma?

The program facilitates contact and an open dialogue between people with lived experience of a mental illness and the many different target groups within the five target areas. There is strong evidence that social contact (direct or indirect) between people who do and do not have lived experience of illness is the most effective evidence-based way to reduce stigma.

Social contact is promoted in different ways through presentations by ambassadors in many different settings, training and information events, festivals, distribution of awareness materials, happenings and creative activities. 

Ambassadors in ONE OF US

A core part of the program is a large corps of volunteers called ambassadors, who have lived experience with a mental illness. They are trained in sharing their experience and their story with many different target groups with the purpose of raising awareness and breaking down prejudice related to mental illness and thereby reduce stigma and discrimination of people with a mental illness. It is vital that the volunteers are well in their recovery process and are in a good place in their lives for them to take on the role of ambassador in ONE OF US.

Read more about ambassadors

Social contact as a method to reduce stigma

Social contact, sometimes called contact or interpersonal contact, takes place when there is positive, cooperative interaction between people with a lived experience of a mental health condition and a particular target group. Such contact can be direct contact (face-to-face and in person), or indirect (eg, imagined, simulations, video, online, social media, or observed).

There is strong evidence that social contact is the most effective evidence-based way to reduce stigma.

International network

ONE OF US is a part of The Global Anti-Stigma Alliance (GASA), which is an international network of anti stigma programs. The aim of the network is for the members to share knowledge, evidence, materials and best practices.

In September 2017, more than 350 people representing 32 countries attended the 8th International Stigma Conference titled ‘Overcoming barriers in Minds and Society’ in Copenhagen, which was hosted by ONE OF US.

Go to The Global Anti-Stigma Alliance website

Opdateret 19 SEP 2023

ONE OF US videoes

The internationally renowned animation film school, The Animation Workshop (TAW), from the Danish town Viborg, has for almost a year worked on a series of extremely professional animated short films for ONE OF US.


A young high school girl experiences a panic attack and flees to the bathroom where someone notices her and reaches out to help her. The video is created in cooperation between ONE OF US and The Animation Workshop.

Mental Combat

When met with prejudice about his mental illness, Randy takes up the fight along with his friends in a videogame world. The video is created in cooperation between ONE OF US and The Animation Workshop.


Alice, while on the subway, is overwhelmed by the dark manifestations of people’s conversations. The video is created in cooperation between ONE OF US and The Animation Workshop.

In balance

A physical manifestation of a dancer’s severe anxiety nearly sabotages her big day. She overcomes it and preforms beautifully to standing ovation. The video is created in cooperation between ONE OF US and The Animation Workshop.

The Applicant

A middle aged male executive of an office setting finds himself challenged on his own prejudices during an interview with a job-seeking young female applicant who discloses her mental illness. The video is created in cooperation between ONE OF US and The Animation Workshop.

Sad Viking

A Viking suffering with a mental illness goes through the motions of life, without telling anyone, until one keen eyed member of his party notices and decides to take action. The video is created in cooperation between ONE OF US and The Animation Workshop.