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”.
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.
On the other hand, knowledge and culture factors can influenced the perception of mental illness. For example, myths about mental health illness can lead to development of
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).
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
Many cultural beliefs and values are held about mental illness and health in Americans of
It is no secret that Western medicine and ideals have seeped their way into countries all around the globe. The Diagnostics and Statistic’s Manual (DSM) is a Western medicine book outlining all the “real” mental illnesses and disorders and how to treat them. Now the book only takes into account illnesses that have become prevalent in Western society, and discredits those from other countries (Watters 2010). Before the DSM was distributed worldwide, many countries did not experience the same illnesses of the mind that the West did. In many countries, mental illness was viewed as a spiritual plague that one was suffering from and therefore was not treated as a crazy person. In order to cure this spiritual problem, the family and friends of the sick would surround them with food, music, and dance in order to ease their spiritual woes (Watters 2010). These very different and “indigenous” illnesses were likely to develop along different paths if left uninterrupted by the DSM. The problem this manual created is that all over the world instances of diseases that were completely Western popped up where they once never existed. The symptoms of anorexia, for example, never included a phobia of becoming fat
While mental health is a global issue with varying stereotypes and prejudice surrounding it, there seems to be a shared general opinion that our society has regarding the mentally ill. However, because being mentally ill generally means something different depending on who or where you may be asking, as some cultures view mental illness in completely different ways than others, the focus of this paper will be in regards to the shared general opinion and view that Americans have of the mentally ill, as well as the stereotypes, prejudice and the stigma that they associate with those who are suffering from mental health issues. In the United States, as Mooney states, “Mental health is defined as the successful performance of mental function, resulting
Mental health—and the stigma that comes along with it—is a very important issue, one of global importance. Shah and Beinecke explain that 450 to 500 million people suffer from mental illnesses (15). Just considering the amount of people who suffer from mental illness is enough to prove that this is a global issue. Despite the large amounts of people who are affected by mental illness, only one third of countries have some sort of program to help (15). This shows the lack of concern for those who suffer from mental illness. Stereotypes affect many people, and those with mental illness are no exception. Everyone has their own preconceived perspectives and notions of mental health, and many of them are uninformed and unjustified. It is up to us to start changing our viewpoints on mental health.
Unfortunately the stigma that has been placed on person with mental illnesses, serves as the barrier force for what keeps the patients from ever seeking help to correct or alleviate their disease. In their article, The Power of Language and Labels: “The Mentally Ill” Versus “People With Mental Illnesses,” Darcy Haag Granello and Todd A. Gibbs found that, “28% of the U.S. adult population has a diagnosable mental condition, only about 8% of these people actually seek treatment.” Granello and Gibbs identify this low turnout of people as a direct result of Americans low level of tolerance towards mental illnesses, as well as Americans general discomfort with people struck by mental illness, which ends up demonstrating Americans revulsion towards mental illnesses. Humans, being primarily social creatures, depend on social interactions and feelings of connectedness in order to properly assimilate into society. In order to properly assimilate into society, it is imperative that human beings are able to read social cues and establish a sense of social values, when a person discovers that mental illnesses results in negative social cues that person will naturally strive to ensure they are free of mental illnesses – fearing that if someone discovers that they have a mental illness, they too, will
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 illness has always been a sensitive topic because of the grey area surrounding it. In the article “Ignorance drives the global stigma of mental illness”, Peter Klein explains the fear of society towards those suffering from a mental disorder. He supports his thesis through different examples of how mental illness is explained around the world, by explaining how the media portrays mental illness and by describing how some views of about some mental illness has changed throughout the years.
In conclusion, the stigma of mental illness harms society by casting judgment on those with mental conditions and degrading their rights. This is shown through the unease people felt when confronted with mental illness, the lack of government funding in mental health care projects, and the high number of suicides each year. Ending the stigma is crucial to improving the lives of everybody; breaking the cycle can change the way people perceive depression and hopefully eradicate
Stigma is a pervasive social concept which arises from feelings of being threatened, superiority, or when people have a negative view towards people of a different demographic (Kamaradova et al. 2016). This pervasiveness was the initiation of the institutionalisation for people with mental illness. However, overtime this practice of institutionalisation has been removed as society adopts a different, more knowledgeable approach to
How society responds to mental illnesses is mainly influenced by the amount of knowledge they have regarding mental disorders (Hinshaw, 2007, p. 7). Thus “the way in which mental disorders is defined has major implications for social responses” (Hinshaw, 2007, p. 7). People who suffer from mental illness have different behaviors than others; as a result, people in society