The Stigma of Mental Disorder Essay examples

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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. There are certain negative connotations that people use when identifying those who they consider to be different from the majority. Stereotyping is a means of assigning a set of characteristics to a group of people usually in an unflattering, …show more content…
The stigma label could increase his perception of hopelessness, which, in turn, perpetuates or magnifies the cycle of the illness. His family may feel the effects of the stigma since many people mistakenly consider all mental disorders to be either genetic or the result of an unfavorable upbringing. This, in turn, can erroneously create the family’s feelings of unfounded guilt or embarrassment. His friends and others in his support system can also be negatively impacted by the stigma simply from an association standpoint, possibly resulting in them distancing themselves from an already somewhat isolated patient. So the stigma exasperates the patient’s internal negative perceptions and can externally create conflict between him and those closest to him. It would be useful to measure the level of stigma against those with mental illness as a gage of social tolerance. If it could be determined that tolerance is increasing, then it could be possible that the negative connotations would be less prevalent leading to more productive outcomes of social interaction with the patient. It can be difficult to get a true measurement of the stigma against mental illness. When using explicit measurements, like direct questionnaires, people are more likely to answer the questions in a way that would portray them as being more socially proper. Whether it is fear of retaliation or simply fear of having it in a written record, people are