Mental Illness: Stigmatized
Mary Ann Nieffenegger
May 13, 2013
University of Phoenix
Mental Illness: Stigmatized
In the world of nursing, professionals encounter all types of people with various backgrounds, cultures, disabilities and health needs. Recognition of mental health and mental illness is an important task for health care workers. Yet, even more important is distinguishing and addressing underlying opinions or biases that may come through when caring for this vulnerable population. In the initiatives of Healthy People 2020, mental health is a significant part of the goals to be reached. This paper will address the attitudes found on a neurology floor in a large hospital and will attempt to show an educational method to help practitioners reflect on their personal beliefs and understand how these may affect the care they give. Through advocacy, education and cultural competency it is possible to gain new perspectives and develop caring and nurturing relationships with patients seen as ‘different’. According to Aday (2001) as sited in de Chesnay and Anderson (2012), “The populations with mental illness is usually defined broadly to include even those individuals with mild anxiety and depression” (p. 7). This definition of populations with health disparities represents a large percentage of patients seen on a general medical floor. Patients are in vulnerable situations and are than further affected by the potential biases of their care givers. The term ethnocentric bias as stated in de Chesney and Anderson (2012) “refers to the notions that one’s own cultural beliefs, practices, folkways, values, and norms are the right ones” (p. 446). As individuals it is easy to see how people tend to stick with what is familiar. Mental illness has long been misunderstood through the ages. Therefore, several myths and biases can be found regarding the state of a person with mental illness. Moreover, mental illness is often thought of as...
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