Stigma on Mental Illness

Social stigma, Prejudice, Mental disorder

Stigma is a very formal dilemma for people who have a mental illness. Based on stereotypes, stigma is a negative judgment based on a personal trait – in this case, having a mental illness. It was once before a common perception that having a mental illness was due to some of personal weakness. After further explorations it is now known that mental illnesses have a biological basis and can be treated like any other health condition. Even so we as health care professionals have a long way to go to overcome the many misconception, fears, and biases that many people hold regarding mental health and mental health illnesses and the stigma these attitudes create.

Stigmas may be apparent and direct, in which someone chooses to make negative remarks about another person’s mental illness and treatment. In the article the authors propose that there are three kinds of stigmas that may act as barriers to personal aspirations: public stigma, self-stigma and label avoidance (JPON 2008). The authors suggest that it would be essential to challenge the mental illness stigma to help individuals accomplish recovery-related goals. A basic social cognitive model was derived to show the obvious marks, hidden marks and the prejudice/discrimination that is formed from them.

I agree that strategically if we as health care professionals and consumers should advocate for individuals with mental health illnesses and protest against televised negative stigmas. We can do so by boycotting sponsors and networks that portray mental illness as outrageously abnormal. Also awareness and education is the key to eradicating such stigmas and discrimination. One limitation that I noticed in the article was the minimal attention given to the interplay between stigma, prejudice, and discrimination. Little attention is given, for example, to the development of prejudiced attitudes or discriminatory behaviors as a result of stigma. The focus on stigma alone creates a sense that the...
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