Mental illness in general carries an enormous stigma. People have respect for and take seriously physical ailments but when it comes to mental illness there is still immense discrimination. The stigma that comes from having a mental disorder such as, bi-polar depression, schizophrenia, or panic disorder comes with an enormous societal cost and can cause people not to talk about it. They may feel ashamed, embarrassed or fear stigma. Not seeking treatment causes people living with a disorder to live an unfulfilled life and suffer in silence. This paper will discuss how the media perpetuates the myth that people with mental illness are violent, unpredictable, and evil and how that contributes to stigma.
This paper is an analysis of mental health and the stigma that is associated with mental illness. The reputation accompanying mental illness causes detrimental effects on those with a psychiatric disorder, such as discrimination, poor health outcomes and social suffering. This is partly due to a lack of public education on the matter, along with attributions of violence related to mental illness caused by news reports. A multi-faceted campaign to increase the public’s knowledge about mental health is critical to assuage the negative attachments affiliated with mental illness.
Although stigmatizing attitudes are not only relatable to mental illness, the public attitudes towards mental illness tend to be more disapproving than towards people with physical illnesses (Piner and Kahle, 1984; Socall and Holtgraves, 1992; Weiner, Perry and Magnusson, 1988). Those with mental illnesses are viewed as being more likely to be responsible for their mental illness (Corrigan et al., 2000; 105). This assumptions is more towards those who suffer from substance additions and eating disorders rather than those who suffer from conditions such as schizophrenia (Angermeyer and Matschinger, 2004). Such attitudes as these therefore lead to discrimination. People in society are less likely to employ (Bordieri and Drehmer, 1986) and rent apartments (Page, 1977) to those suffering from mental illness, citizens are also more likely to direct false accusations of violence to the mentally ill. (Explaining the increased arrest rate among mental patients: a cautionary note, 1980; Steadman, 1981)
Self-pity and pessimistic attitudes remain a topic of discussion with a mentally ill patient, however the more valuable picture revolves around the stigma that the public holds towards those with a mental illness. Unrun Ozer, member of International Committee of National Journal Editors, acknowledges that, “Stigmatization is described as attributing someone in a way that would decrease the person’s reputation because the individual strays away from the general norms of the society” ( 225). Ozer clarifies that a stigma is an unfavorable viewpoint that society has on someone that is perceived as different. Those with a mental illness are susceptible to vulnerability because they are at a small disadvantage than the normal person. Negative connotations, such as adverse viewpoints and perplexing labels, affect the care and treatment process of those suffering because their compliance to treatment decreases. Society is too quick to judge and be ignorant if someone isn’t in perfect form, and Ozer reports, “ It has been reported that individuals with mental illnesses are seen by the society as dangerous, frightening, unstable, irresponsible, unpredictable, and having communication problems” (Ozer 225). Ozer declares that these labels are degrading to an individual with a mental illness, and cause feelings of introversion, decreased self-confidence, worthlessness, shame and despair. If we want happiness to be achievable for all, then criticizing individuals is a step in the wrong
Society’s stigmatization of mental illness prevents people from advocating for themselves and getting the help they need. It is paradoxical that a society that prizes freedom of speech is also one that silences people when it comes to 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
Throughout history people who have a mental health illness are not accepted in society. The attitudes of people in society, for example the workplace, is an important measure of the success of that society. Segregating people with mental illnesses from society, by putting someone in a institute, contributed to the attitude that an individual with mental illness are not capable of participating or contributing in society. These negative stereotypes are often portrayed in media, and influence the stigma of mental health illness being dangerous. This controversial concept of dangerousness states that individuals with a mental illness are more dangerous than those without a mental illness. Various forms of discrimination and exclusion in society is still present today. If society begins to understand mental illness, then they will judge a lot less. Success in that society will come when society accepts other people who are different
The mentally ill population in society is an oppressed group of individuals because they are powerlessness, exploited and marginalized. Powerless because of the inhibitions against the development of their capacity, the lack of power in decision making and the disrespect that they faced because of their status (Mullaly 2010, p. 37). Individuals will often stare, point, make negative ignorant statements and devalue the mentally ill because they behave in a different manner from the rest of society. They are oppressed on the personal and the structural level because of the inequities experienced, which in turn cause them disproportionate levels and incidences of stress, anguish, frustration, alienation, exclusions and a higher mortality rate (Mullaly 2010, p.153). Being incarcerated is also a form of oppression because they are a group that is segregated from the general population, denied specific rights and have
In recent years, evidence and studies have proven that the shutdown of various mental health facilities across the nation has caused a dramatic increase in the number of incarcerations for people who suffer from mental illness. In 2006, the Bureau of Justice Statistics calculated that there were approximately 705,600 mentally ill adults incarcerated in state prisons, 78,800 mentally ill adults incarcerated in federal prisons, and 479,900 mentally ill adults incarcerated in local jails (“Mentally Ill”). In response to the increase in the number of incarcerations and news stories, people around the nation developed harmful stigmas towards mentally ill people. According to Sarah Glazer’s article entitled "Prisoners and Mental Illness", the state governments do not allocate enough spending to mental health care. In the hopes of reducing funding and saving money, many state governments across the nation forced the shutdown of public mental health facilities, which led to an increase in crimes committed by mentally ill people. According to Dr. Marie E. Rueve and Dr. Randon S. Welton’s article entitled “Violence and Mental Illness”, society believes that mentally ill people are worthless and violent, which is a negative impact of the increase in crimes committed by mentally ill people. In response to the stigma created by society, many people believe that the mentally ill deserve incarceration in order to keep them from harming other members of the community. According to the
Mental illness can happen at any time in the lifetime of a person. The illness affects the mind and alters a person’s feelings, thinking and behavior hence a difficulty in functioning. A majority of mentally ill people live on the streets, commit crimes and are imprisoned instead of getting proper treatment at a mental health facility. Pete Earley’s Crazy: A Father’s Search through America’s Mental Health Madness points out the essence of educating the society about dealing with mentally ill people. Earley uses his son’s condition to emphasize on the need for medical treatment rather than the imprisonment of mentally ill people. He notes that the society cannot ignore the rights of the mentally ill in accessing treatment (Earley, 2006). Notably, the justice system ought to be reformed to help the mentally ill to live a normal life like any other person.
The American mentally ill population faces numerous barriers to acquiring basic services that those without mental illness receive daily. Advocating for the mentally ill population gives a voice to those who cannot voice their problems or may not know how. Mental illness is often misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed. Individuals who are not properly diagnosed cannot receive necessary medical treatment which can help them live normal lives. When needed medical treatment is not made available, those who suffer often end up homeless, and frequently cycle in, and out of the judicial system because their
Although there’s a stigma associated with mental illness, there are people stepping forward and being honest about their mental health experiences. How come mental health stigma exists? This question should be important to society because mental illnesses are common throughout the United States, affecting tens of millions of people each year. This question’s important to me because I’m a crisis counselor for two organizations and I’m going to receive a master’s degree in counseling. After obtaining a master’s degree, I hope to continue my education to become a psychiatrist. Mental illnesses typically aren’t portrayed correctly in the media. I’m going to explore how news reports have contributed to the false belief that people who have mental illnesses are “violent” and/or “crazy,” but keep in mind that there are several other types of media that give this impression.
One in every seventeen people in America suffers from a mental disorder. These disorders inhibit the afflicted person from functioning properly and coping normally with daily life. Many afflicted with a psychological disorder do not exhibit obvious symptoms, as medical advancements have made it possible for these disorders to be suppressed or even nonexistent. Today, however, harsh stigmas exist that unfairly categorize those with a mental illness as violent, unfriendly, and abnormal. The media and federal government are culprits in fabricating the unrealistic depictions of mental disability that define the portrayal of those who are mentally or psychologically disadvantaged.
People with mental health issues have been viewed and treated in a variety of ways within western society throughout time. Historically if an individual displayed behaviours which disrupted their function in society and defied social norms they were viewed as lunatics, insane or even cursed (Cowan, 2008; Elder & Evans & Nizette, 2009). It is from these past issues that many people still have unreasonable thoughts about mental illness; their misconceptions have created unreasonable fears and negative attitudes toward those who experience it. This negativity brings for many the barriers of not only
“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.