The Stigma of Mental Illness and How to Overcome it

Stigmatization of mental illness goes way back into history. while some think of it as a mark of the devil others believe it’s a moral punishment, however, just like all other types of stigma, there are ways to deal with this one. Keep reading to find out.

Overcome the stigma of Mental illness1

The Stigma of Mental Illness

Do you know that a lot of people don’t receive help for their disorders? Some of them avoid seeking help because they worry about how they will be treated, and others fear that they will lose their jobs or means of livelihood.

Have you ever suffered from mental illness and don’t know how to get help because you are scared of being stigmatized?

If you have or know someone who has, this article is for you. Read on to learn about what to do in such a situation.

Stigma is when you are seen in a different way because you have a distinguishing characteristic that is perceived as or is actually a disadvantage.

Unfortunately, people who suffer from mental health disorders are often treated unfairly by some people, while some just express negative attitudes toward them.

Fear or a lack of understanding are two major causes of stigma. The media’s inaccurate or deceptive portrayals of mental illness have a role in both of those issues.

While the public may recognise the medical or hereditary nature of a mental health issue and the necessity for treatment, a review of studies on stigma reveals that many people still have a negative image of those with mental illness.

Stigma often leads to discrimination and can come in various forms. Someone can make a mockery of your situation or just avoid being close to you because they think you are abnormal or unstable which can be dangerous to them.

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How Stigma and Discrimination Affect People With Mental Health Issues

Nearly 9 out of 10 people with a mental illness feel stigma and discrimination negatively affect their life, according to the Mental Health Foundation.

They also assert that people with mental health issues have among the lowest rates of employment, long-term relationships, decent housing, and social inclusion of any group of people with a chronic illness or disability.

The stigma associated with having a mental health problem can increase symptoms and make recovery more difficult. Living with stigma may also make a person less likely to seek treatment.

As a result of this, people who suffer from mental health issues begin to isolate themselves, and some of them begin to harm themselves or get more scared of expressing how they feel.

Types Of Stigma

Scholars have identified different types of stigma, they are Public stigma, Self-stigma and institutional stigma.

Public Stigma refers to people’s unfavourable or discriminating perceptions about mental illness.

Self-stigma is the term for the unfavourable beliefs that people with mental illness have about their own illness, particularly internalised shame.

Institutional Stigma, which affects policies of public and commercial organisations that obstruct opportunities for people with mental illness, is more common.

Examples include less money for research into mental illness or fewer mental health services in comparison to other medical options.

The loved ones of people plagued with mental illness also suffer stigmatization by extension.

Negative Effects Of Stigma 

Some of the negative effects of stigma are:

  • Refusal to seek help or treatment
  • Lack of understanding by family, colleagues and friends
  • Fewer opportunities for work, school or social activities
  • Bullying, physical violence or harassment
  • Health insurance that doesn’t adequately cover your mental illness treatment
  • The belief that you’ll never succeed at certain challenges or that you can’t improve your situation
Stigma of mental illness

How To Overcome The Stigma of Mental Illness

Stop Isolating Yourself: Learn to reach out to people regardless of what you are going through.

You are going to feel reluctant sometimes. However, your family, your church members and members of your community can render help to you concerning your mental illness. Reach out to them for the support and compassion you need.

Get Treatment: Don’t let fear get a hold of you. People may label you because of your situation but don’t let it get to you. Treatment will help you reduce symptoms that collude with your personal life and work.

Don’t let self-doubt and shame Rule you: Stigma can also come from you. You have to stop thinking that your condition is a sign of weakness or that you can take charge of it without help.

Constantly learn about your condition and always reach out to people who suffer or once suffered the same fate. Meeting them can help you regain your self-esteem and overcome self-judgement.

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Join a support group: By educating those who have mental illnesses, their families, and the broader public, some local and national organisations provide local activities and online resources that assist minimise stigma.

Support for people with mental illness is provided by some state and federal agencies and programmes, such as those that concentrate on vocational rehabilitation.

In conclusion, While stigma persists, it can be eradicated with increased education and knowledge about mental illness.

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