What is the mental health stigma?
Mental illness stigma means that people with mental illness or perceived mental illness face discrimination due to having the illness. Stigma can also be internal or self-oriented, where people with mental illness have a negative view of themselves because of the illness. This is NOT unusual, since society at large holds a negative view of people with mental illness. Stigma means that many people refuse to get help for their illnesses, because they don't want to be stigmatized as mentally ill. Stigma means that people will have a preconceived notion of what someone with schizophrenia, or bipolar, or depression (etc.) might be like just because of a label placed on them. The media stigmatizes the mentally ill by reporting that they are violent and dangerous when they are not. Only in very specific cases are people with mental illness violent. Stigma means that those with mental illness might not get jobs or housing, because they are perceived as incompetent or "crazy." People tend not to want to be friends and/or romantic partners with people who have mental illness, because they view it as a bad thing. Stigma surrounding mental illness makes it so that most people will not disclose to others that they have a mental illness, because they feel ashamed about it. Many people with family and/or friends with mental illness don't like to talk about it because of the stigma as well. It is a huge problem. Even psychiatrists and other health care workers who work with the mentally ill often have preconceived notions about the "crazy" people they work with which can lead to inferior and inadequate treatment.
Why is there still such a stigma surrounding mental health issues in America today?
Human beings have a tendency to be fearful and pejorative of that which we do not understand (i.e. mental illness, people of different colors/races/religions/countries etc.). I believe this is a very old/anachronistic/vestigial ingrained property of our brains for basic survival from what we once believed may have harmed us; what we don’t understand.The only way to overcome it is to become educated in modern social intelligence. The problem with many human beings is that such modern education/knowledge supersedes such old/anachronistic beliefs/paradigms that too many hold even as religiously.“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” ― Max Planck
Why is there still so much stigma around mental health given its prevalence?
Lack of AwarenessBecause people don't really understand mental health. When someone has any kind of physical illness, let's say a fracture, the illness is separate from one's sense of self. The person is still the same, with same interests, same motivation, same views. But that is not the case with mental illness. You lose interest in things which used to excite you, you feel helpless, you seem to be a totally different person than you used to be. These things are perceived by people to be in their control. What we think, what we feel, motivating oneself, these are the things that are supposed to be in our control. So it's very easy to dismiss these symptoms as “He is just being lazy” or “She just needs to pull herself together”. Unlike physical illness, the line between the illness and sense of self is blurred in case of mental illness, which makes it very difficult to comprehend. In fact, people with mental illness themselves many a times live in denial, even after they are diagnosed.Despite its prevelance, it's an elephant in the room that no one talks about or even acknowledge.
How do we get away from the stigma surrounding mental health and why do you think it’s still prevalent today?
How do we get away from the stigma surrounding mental health and why do you think it’s still prevalent today?Hi Skylar;The problem with the stigma of mental illnesses is the fear of the unknown, and the fear of things/people that are different.People want their worlds to fit in a nice little boxes and they can’t deal with things they can’t quantify. People that don’t behave in a manner in keeping with social norms scare them.Mental illness is an “invisible disease”, like lupus, fibromyalgia, Chron’s Disease, etc. If people can’t see it, it isn’t there. It is easier to think of people as lazy, self-absorbed, arrogant, and weak instead of ill and in need of help. That pushes these people away from them, they don’t have to deal with these people that just won’t take responsibility for their own actions.I have been told that there isn’t anything wrong with me, I’m making it all up to behave anyway I want to. People think I’m contagious. People think it is all psychosomatic.
Why is there a stigma around mental illness?
Mental illnesses embrace a lot of conditions,like anxiety,depression,bipolars,OCD, etc., Nowadays, many of us lives under enormous pressures due to demanding jobs,bad relationships and marriages,frictions within families,poverties+unemployments, etc., and these factors contribute significantly to the main cause of those conditions.Schizophrenia affects 2% of our population and has different causes such as genetic origins, and although majority sufferers are non-violent, they suffer the social stigmas most. The underlying cause is the poor understanding by the public and confuse with psychopaths often portraited in horror movies. Patients are usually in chronic depressive states,and prefer to isolation and rarely socialize. These further reduce their chance to be understood.Cases of unfortunate events,which involves injuries to people,usually commited by people without those illnesses but minds of ciminals, but the stigmas have been wrongfully attached to the aforementioned patients.
Why do mental health problems have so much stigma attached to them in our society?
It's because we are a backward society. We don't cherish science and books. You will find people everywhere who will debate that the scientific knowledge is limited and there are many things which can't be explained by science. We have a compulsive desire to defend superstition. We love to prove the existence of ghosts and shadows in place of science. So much is our obsession that till date we teach astrology in our universities. Our politicians consider uneducated people as assets. We have surrounded ourselves with superstitions likeAstrologyPalmistryFortune tellingVastuSuperstitionsFaith over logicMythology as realitySadhu, Sadhvi, gurus, Baba's etc
Why is there such a a stigma attached to mental health?
I would think that mostly it is because there is so little understanding in the world about mental health and mental diseases. What we don't understand, we fear. Also, there are movies such as the old "One Who Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest" that keep the general population scared of what mental health really is. They picture some crazy person who cackles, hears voices, kills because the voices told them to, eats only the purple crayon and that sort of thing. It is not shown as a condition that is treatable, in most cases, and though I don't know if it is actually curable (lots of controversy on that too) there are ways to control it. I suppose if you asked 100 people you might get 100 different answers to your question though. I think it is mostly the misunderstanding of it as well as the fear of it though. Good luck with your assignment and I hope some of the input you get really helps you with it.
Why is there so much stigma surrounding mental illnesses?
Particularly, depression, bipolar, bulimia/anorexia, cutters and those who attempt suicide. It's not our fault, we are not bad people. Or alcoholics, do you not see the reason behind the drink? I heard some 'colleagues' talking about Demi Lovato who has/had some of these, personally I felt sympathy for her, but they disliked her because she was 'bipolar, bulimic, a cutter' why can you dislike someone for something which isn't there choice?
What are your thoughts on the stigma around mental illness, and on mental illness as a whole?
My most immediate concern is that Stigma interferes with diagnosis and treatment. And that is harmful for the individual with the illness.But stigma damages the entire community. Anyone who thinks in stereotypes or emotional biases is limiting his or her thinking process. And quite often Stigma about mental illness is just the tip of the iceberg - there will also be a general limit to thinking, reasoning and evaluating information.In a very ironic way, Stigma, prejudices, biases, these are ‘mental illnesses’ that whole groups of people get. And when a group of people believe untruths, indulge in lazy thinking, let their paranoia run loose, that is truly a ‘mental illness’ of society.My thought is that any type of stigma is a waste of energy and time. All it does is create negativity and lack of progress.Mental illnesses are real illnesses. They can be treated with much success. People with mental illness are in general not dangerous.But let’s not ignore reality, either. Let’s not romanticize mental illness. It isn’t all late night walks in the garden and sad poetry. We also have a very real problem. We have a tiny handful of people who could harm others when they are acutely ill, like the Nikolas Cruzes of the world. But that guy warned people for months of how ill he was, just as most people who are that ill do. There are ample opportunities to stop a disaster from happening. He even called 911 himself! So we also have to realize that this tiny group of people is very unlike the rest of mentally ill people, and that they need intensive help - hospitalization, intensive case management, rehospitalization if they go off treatment.