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Role Of Stigma In Mental Health

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Mental health is an integral part of a person’s overall wellbeing. Essentially, mental health can influence how an individual views everyday life and themselves, in addition to how well they can endure change and challenges that arise1. Those with mental health issues often face stigma, more commonly known as using negative labels (usually due to misconceptions) to single them out2. There are numerous difficulties that could be created due to having a mental health issue, however, the humiliation and stress that often come with stigma can be further detrimental to an individual’s health. The fear that is caused by stigma could hinder a person’s willingness to seek help when needed3. Unfortunately, stigma is much more widespread in Irish society…show more content…
Fundamentally, stigma stems from three main elements. First and foremost, ignorance. In this case, a person may either be lacking in knowledge or is misinformed about certain facts regarding mental health issues2,4. An example of this could be an individual believing that people cannot be treated or recover from certain mental illnesses5. The second element is prejudice - which slightly overlaps with ignorance, in the case that an individual most likely has a poor understanding of mental health4. On the other hand, prejudice usually leads to that individual having a fear of those with mental health issues or even avoiding them2. And finally, discrimination (or hostile behaviour). This commonly involves treating those with mental health issues differently and in some instances, making it more difficult for them to gain certain jobs or rights2,4. The three main types of stigma include self-stigma, where people judge themselves based on what society deems normal or acceptable; structural stigma, also known as public stigma, and label avoidance, where a person does not look for or request healthcare merely to avoid putting a label on themselves. The latter could cause an undiagnosed individual to not pursue extremely beneficial help4 that could perhaps improve their life. Altogether,…show more content…
Those who currently have mental health issues or have had them in the past are more likely to be discredited8, considered less trust worthy6, and be subjected to discrimination, all because of stigma. Even if a person is willing to get help, the trepidation that often comes with stigma may leave them stuck in an endless cycle of dread and illness9, and could eventually lead to unforeseen
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