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
This essay will demonstrate my understanding of the impact of discrimination, labelling and stigma has on mental health people in health and social care. It has been documented that there are certain people who are stigmatized and mental health people often have a negative stereotype (Nordt et al., 2006). This negativity will often deter the mental health individuals to seek the help and medical treatment that they need due to the fear of stigmatisation and labelling.
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.
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.
Throughout history, many societies across the world have tended to banish people with mental disorders from the mainstream. Even today individuals with psychopathologies experience additional social handicaps and distress as a result of prejudice. Yet, according to statistics, one out of four adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.
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).
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.
According to NAMI, The National Alliance of Mental Illness 1 in 5 adults experience a mental health condition yearly. 1 in 20 people live with a serious mental illness like, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Not only does the person who is directly experiencing a mental illness suffer, but the family, and friends are also highly affected. NAMI states that 50% of mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% of mental illnesses develop by age 24. Each year, 1 in 5 children from the ages 13-18 experiences a mental illness reported by NAMI. That’s a large amount of our young generation. Three out of four people with a mental illness report that they have experienced stigma, a mark of disgrace that sets a person apart according to the
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
To many a stigma is a disgraceful flaw, that of a negative presence. In mental health this stigma is overwhelming. Approximately 57.7 million Americans experience a mental health disorder in any given year. (National Alliance on Mental Illness) People in dire need of help are not seeking it. Mental illnesses are going undiagnosed. The mental health stigma is having a negative impact on the proper diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses.
Hey Michelle, I really enjoyed reading your post. Raising awareness to alleviate the lack of access to quality mental healthcare for minorities, is a great step in the right direction to getting this problem under control. If people are not aware of what’s going on, then it’s hard to advocate change in the community. I also agree with you when you talked about removing the stigma on mental illness. So many people grew up around that stigma, and that’s why mental illness is looked upon as something so negative. We as social workers can turn that stigma into something positive, by making sure our clients feel comfortable, and making sure they feel like they have a voice.
There are many issues in the world that are in need of being addressed; one problem I'd like to concentrate on are the stigmas surrounding mental illness. 1 out of every 4 people will be diagnosed with a mental disorder in their lifetime, but only 2 in 3 people will seek help. Social stigma, discrimination, and the idea of being ostracized by society stop many from reaching out for the help they need. Often times, people do not understand the obstacles people with mental disorders face; those with mental disorders or disabilities are treated with prejudice and inequity. Those with a history of mental health issues are seen as attention seeking, they face isolation, and can be generally unhappy. People with psychiatric disabilities are
Consequently, this stigma has become one of the major contributing factors that stop individuals from reaching out and seeking treatment. As mentioned by Henderson (2013), more than 70% of individuals worldwide do not receive treatment for their mental illness. The high rate of unreported mental illnesses therefore leads to an inaccurate representation of mental illness prevalent within society. Individuals are afraid to speak out and seek help for their illness due to the fear of being rejected and labeled by others. The stereotypes of a diagnosed individual represent the collectively agreed upon notions that the mentally ill can never return to a once regular lifestyle (Corrigan & Watson, 2002). With the avoidance of individuals accepting
“I want to be able to talk to someone in a pub and say ‘I have been mentally ill’ and for them to say ‘That’s interesting, what did you experience?’”, said a survivor from the UK in 1997 (Sayce 18). Almost twenty years later and this man 's wish still has not come true. People may ask why, and the answer is because of the stigma that comes along with having a mental illness. Mental illness is something not often talked about because of the fear of being judged. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in every four Americans has a mental illness, and only about 40% of them seek professional help (Hamid). People are being put into mental institutions instead of getting the help that they need to get better, because even people in the medical field are not understanding about this situation because they do not understand how it feels. The stigma and stereotypes towards mental illnesses are overwhelming, therefore people should be made aware of their impact and take steps to reduce stigma and stereotypes.
It is estimated that 43.5 million Americans, adults 18 or older, live with mental illness. This number represents 18.1% of all U.S. adults (National Institute of Mental Health, 2014). Stigma toward those who are seen as different have existed for as long as civilization itself, with the stigma for mental illness being one of the most prominent and long lasting that society has had to face throughout its ages (Arboleda-Florez & Stuart, 2012). Increased understanding and awareness for those individuals suffering from mental illness is necessary for us to overcome the impacts stigma has on our society.