People suffering from mental illnesses are isolated and viewed as strangers in society. They are viewed as dangerous or aggressive, which increases the likelihood of being discriminated against. These two factors will lead to social distancing, which is the greatest contributor of the stigmatization of mental illness. Without creating awareness of mental illnesses, the stigmatization is likely to remain the same and there will always be a separation between those with a mental illness and those
Mental illness is a controversial topic in recent news. From Sandy Hook to the Aurora movie theatre shooting, the effects of mental illness have sparked fierce debate and negative stigma surrounding the issue. Mental illnesses, “patterns of thoughts, feelings, or behaviors that are deviant, distressful, and dysfunctional” (Myers 562), affect 1 in 4 people at some point in their lives ("Stigma and Discrimination"). However, only 59.6% of people with mental illness report receiving treatment, as they are often perceived as “dangerous, unpredictable, responsible for their illness, or generally incompetent” (Corrigan, Druss, and Perlick). As a result, an entire group of citizens is discriminated against for a condition beyond their control. With so much riding on the issue, a question needs to be addressed: to what extent does stigma surrounding mental illness affect the treatment of patients in healthcare and society? To explore the effects of stigma surrounding mental illness, it is essential to understand the issue through historical, sociocultural, economic, and scientific lenses.
During a mental health event the First Lady, Michelle Obama said, “At the root of this dilemma is the way we view mental health in this country. [...] Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg or your brain, it’s still an illness, and there should be no distinction.” This shows that mental illness stigma in society is based on mental illness being perceived more negatively than other physical illness when it should actually be seen as the same. Stigma around mental illness has had very immense adverse effects on the willingness of undiagnosed suffers to not seek treatment when they need it. As a result of this one in five people with a mental illness will not get the treatment they need which has the effect of high suicide rates among the untreated sufferers. In an effort to reduce stigma around mental illness, so that more undiagnosed sufferers seek treatment, schools should devote more time to increasing awareness of mental illness and its effects.
While stigma may not necessarily be a cause of a person’s mental disorder, it can certainly contribute to the complication and perpetuation of their illness. The effect of stigma goes well beyond just the patient and provides a commentary on society’s overall level of intolerance of those who are considered different from the majority. By recognizing the level of stigma that exists, perhaps we can alter that behavior and gravitate towards a more productive attitude towards mental illness.
While the treatment methodology for mental illness has improved over the last few decades, the negative stigma surrounding those who seek care is still a major roadblock. (Corrigan, 2004) To better understand the term stigma, the definition must first be examined. According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary Stigma is defined as “a set of negative often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something; a mark of shame or discredit.” (Stigma, 2015). These views are often
A stigma can simply be defined as a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality or person. In the world of mental health the presence of a stigma is astronomical. As Bill Clinton once said, “Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of but stigma and bias shame us all.” (Clinton) False beliefs about mental illness can cause significant dilemma. People may face discrimination at work or school and endure bullying or harassment. Such discrimination and harassment can have a profound effect on individuals. “It can cause embarrassment and shame, leading those with illnesses to try to conceal their problems and avoid help.” (Toyoshiba) But what exactly is mental illness?
The majority of people that have a severe mental illness are object to challenges in double measure. From one point of view, they wrestle with the symptoms and disablement that result from the illness. From another point, they are tested by the stereotypes and preconceived ideas that stem from the misunderstandings about mental illness. As a culmination of both, people with a mental illness are stripped of the chances that define a quality life such as a good job, safe housing, adequate health care, and a connection with a varied group of people. Although research has gone a long way to understand the affect of the disease, it only recently has begun to explain the stigma of mental illness (Corrigan). The lives of people who are living with a mental illness are many times drastically adjusted by the symptoms of the illness and everyone’s response to them. While symptoms can normally be diminished by a number of actions, the intrinsic stigma and prejudice that comes with mental illness may continue on for a lifetime and can manifest themselves in a number of understated and non-understated ways. Normally, when one thinks of a stigma, they think of disgrace that is associated with a particular event, circumstance, or occasion. People with a mental illness are most often branded as an effect of their behavior, appearance, therapy, their economic status, and also the negative depictions in the media of the mental illnesses. People with a mental illness often have a “stereotype
Mental Illness, that name conjures up a vast array of frightening images in the minds of the general public and media; an unfair image that is stigmatizing for the sufferer. The stigma is also pervasive in the mental health field, where patients who receive treatment are sometimes treated unfairly by the practitioners, who are supposed to help them in the first place. This is what my paper will discuss, the effects of stigma and labeling on patients and their families. I have culled many sources from scholarly papers, that back up my claim. I will describe what I thought of about the articles and how they pertain to the main points I am trying to make.
With this new understanding, the question again is raised as to how equality is achieved and how the stigma is stopped. In order to delve deeper into the question, it becomes necessary to examine how mental illnesses perceptions came about.
Stigma has been said to be “a feeling of being negatively differentiated owing to a particular condition, group membership or state in life”(Arboleda-Florez & Stuart, 2012, p. 458). There are typically two types of mental illness stigma that are discussed. Public stigma, also known as societal stigma, is the stigma associated with the prejudicial attitudes the public holds towards those people who suffer from mental illness (Arboleda-Florez & Stuart, 2012; Corrigan, Markowitz, Watson, Rowan & Kubiak, 2003). Self-stigma, also known as internalized stigma, is the loss of self-esteem, withdrawal, and personal shame that some with mental illness will experience. Self-stigma is usually developed when those who suffer from mental illness associate the negative stereotypes the public holds with themselves (Chronister, Chou, & Lieo, 2013; Corrigan et al., 2003).
Mental health and its stigma are an important issue plaguing today’s society. Many do not understand or acknowledge the severity of mental illness. The stigma against mental
There are many stigmas, or misconceptions and misperceptions in our society which need to be shattered. I believe that one of the worse possible effects of stigma is that it causes those affected by psychological disorders, or mental illness, to crawl more deeply into themselves because it provokes a sense of shame. Stigma thrusts those suffering with mental illness into a sense of isolation, social exclusion, and discrimination. “Stigma can lead to discrimination … It may be obvious or direct … Or it may be unintentional or subtle…” (Staff). Stigma is often as big as the illness itself and I confess to having been a perpetuator of this dreaded thing, although not consciously aware and without the intent of furthering the harm of someone.
Individuals with serious mental illness are doubly affected by their disease; not only do they experience the often debilitating symptoms of their condition, but they must also endure mundane mental health stigmas and prejudices. Stigmatized attitudes are perceived to be one of the greatest impediments to living a complete and fulfilling life. Stigma has been defined as a combination of three related problems: ignorance, prejudice and discrimination (Rose, Thornicroft, Pinfold, & Kassam, 2007). Ignorance implies a lack of knowledge, prejudice entails negative attitudes, and discrimination involves exclusionary actions against people deemed to be different. Two forms of stigma are commonly distinguished in literature. Public stigma describes the attitudes of society towards people with mental illness, while self-stigma results from the internalization of prejudice by people who suffer from mental health conditions (Corrigan, Powell, & Rüsch, 2012). The World Health Organization announced that stigma was the most crucial obstacle to overcome for a community to functioning effectively and efficiently (Ontario Hospital Association, 2013).
Stigma surrounds mental illness even in contemporary society. Research has aimed to reduce this. World Health Organisation (WHO; 2012) have stated that such stigma is a “hidden human rights emergency”.
This journal was written by Dr. Peter Byrne, a consultant liaison psychiatrist and an associate registrar for public mental health. Throughout his journal, Byrne speaks about the stigma of mental illness and ways to reduce the stigma. He starts off by defining stigma and the process of it. Towards the end of the journal, he expresses how everyone needs to get involved to be able to make a change to this issue. To be able to address the stigma one needs to know how to identify it. Byrne believes that by changing the way people view mental illness with the help of health professionals, interventions, and management by transforming the mentally ill person from patient to advocate, can be beneficial in reducing the stigma. The information provided