Stigma Of Mental Illness

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The stigma of mental illness has the effect of that of a double edged sword. One edge is the public, led by misunderstanding and fear, which influences how they will interact and support people with mental illness. The second edge cuts into the mindsets of the mentally ill themselves, as they deal with living in a stigma saturated culture; this influences how they experience their physiological distress and also whether they decide to seek treatment. The attitudes that are cultivated through public misconception create a negative impact upon mental illness. The World Health Organization defines mental health as, “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes their own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work…show more content…
Stigma is identified as one of today’s largest impediments to receiving mental health care, with the 1999 Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health stating that “stigma tragically deprives people of their dignity and interferes with their full participation in society.” The stigma of mental illness is constructed with the building blocks of ignorance, prejudice and discrimination. In the mental health literature, stigma is said to be negative attitudes and beliefs that influence society to fear, reject, and discriminate against people with mental illnesses (President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, 2003). A person’s attitudes and beliefs that lead to the mental illness stigma are built through their own knowledge about mental illness, the information depicted through media outlets and first or second hand experience with it (Corrigan et al, 2004). When the culmination of these are positive, they can produce supportive behaviors and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. Yet, when they are expressed negatively, they may result behaviors such as avoidance, exclusion, and…show more content…
The psychoactive drugs led many to believe that all illnesses were capable of being managed with medication. Additionally, it let individuals avoid their mental health issues by just trying to make it disappear with a pill, despite successful advances in therapy. This lets people treat themselves with psychotropic medication allowing them to hide their symptoms from their friends, family, and communities (Blue, 1993). In some cases, when care is sought, individuals feel ashamed due to stigma, so they often go for treatment of physical complaints, which are more likely psychosomatic symptoms (Okasha,
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