A look at the negative stigma of mental health

Abstract Mental health stigma operates in society, is internalized by individuals, and is attributed by health professionals. This ethics-laden issue acts as a barrier to individuals who may seek or engage in treatment services. The dimensions, theory, and epistemology of mental health stigma have several implications for the social work profession.

A look at the negative stigma of mental health

Samantha Gluck What is stigma? People coping with mental illness have a lot more to deal with than just the disorder itself.

People with mental illness represent, perhaps, one of the most deeply stigmatized groups in American culture. Many of the over 46 million Americans who suffer from some type of mental health disorder may describe and define stigma using one of these words or phrases: The True Meaning of Stigma Truly, the meaning of stigma boils down to discrimination and hate.

People with mental illness feel diminished, devalued and fearful because of the negative attitude society holds toward them. Now imagine that instead of NFL football players supporting your illness by wearing sneakers with pink cleats and pink logos on their jerseys, society blames you for your illness.

Imagine others looking at you with accusing eyes and whispering about you behind your back when they find out you have breast cancer. People with mental disorders must cope with this type of stigma on a daily basis.

A look at the negative stigma of mental health

But why should they? Mental illness is a disease just like cancer. No one wants to develop cancer. No one wants to deal with mental illness either. But millions of Americans do have a mental illness.

Join the Stand Up for Mental Health campaign.Important factors that affect a situational response to stigma include collective representations that are primed in that situation, the person's perception of the legitimacy of stigma in the situation, and the person's identification with the larger group of individuals with mental illness.

Because of stigma about mental health problems, some employers may have concerns about hiring you. This can make it harder for you to get the job you want. Think about the benefits and harms of telling an employer if you have PTSD.

The report, “The Impact of Mental Illness Stigma on Seeking and Participating in Mental Health Care,” and the accompanying commentary, “Creating and Changing Public Policy to Reduce the Stigma of Mental Illness,” are available online for free to the public.

What is stigma? People coping with mental illness have a lot more to deal with than just the disorder itself. Many people report that the stigma of mental illness, and the prejudices they encounter because of it, is nearly as bad as the disorder’s symptoms themselves.

Public stigma is the reaction that the general population has to people with mental illness. Self-stigma is the prejudice which people with mental illness turn against themselves.

Both public and self-stigma may be understood in terms of three components: stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination.

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Mental health stigma is of great interest to me personally. I have a diagnosis and work as a mental health professional in a regional city in Queensland. Seriously, I believe that we should feel sympathetic to those people who hold a stigma against people with a mental health diagnosis.

Stigma as a Barrier to Mental Health Care – Association for Psychological Science