Examples Of Stigma And Discrimination In Mental Illness

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1. INTRODUCTION Stigma and discrimination in mental illness is a long existing problem that often tormented the lives of people with mental health conditions. It a negative stereotype that, emerge as one of the greatest barriers for them to lead a satisfying life. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (World Health Organization, 2006). Mental illnesses are characterized by modifications in thinking; mood or behavior (or some combination thereof) associated with significant distress and impaired functioning over an extended period of time (World Health Organization, 2006). The symptoms of mental illness vary from mild to severe, depending on the type of mental illness, the individual, the family and the socioeconomic environment (Health Canada, 2002a). According to the World Health Organization, the stigma and discrimination that exist towards people with mental health problems is one of the most important issues to overcome in mental health policy (World Health Organization, 2001a). The mental health advocacy has been developed to promote the human rights of persons with mental disorders and to reduce stigma and discrimination. In many developing countries, mental health advocacy groups have not yet been formed or are in their infancy (Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, 2008). It consists of various actions aimed at changing

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