How Stigma and Discrimination Effect Mental Illness

2265 Words10 Pages
Mental illness is a term which is used when a persons mind is affected in some way by a group of illnesses (Ministry of Health [MOH], 2012). People with mental health issues have been viewed and treated in a variety of ways within western society throughout time. Historically if an individual displayed behaviours which disrupted their function in society and defied social norms they were viewed as lunatics, insane or even cursed (Cowan, 2008; Elder & Evans & Nizette, 2009). It is from these past issues that many people still have unreasonable thoughts about mental illness; their misconceptions have created unreasonable fears and negative attitudes toward those who experience it. This negativity brings for many the barriers of not only facing the illness itself but also the barrier of stigma and discrimination this ultimately delays or impairs recovery (El-Badri & Mellsop, 2007). Grayson (2004) states that "If one looks back over the history of how mental illness was regarded in various societies and ages, the only consistent threads that weave through the fabric of the centuries are the isolation and stigmatization of the mentally ill" (p.6). This paper will discus mental illness stigma and discrimination and its impact on individuals who experience mental illness, their families/whanau and society. This essay will also evaluate what is being done currently to reduce discrimination at macro and micro levels. Stigma and discrimination impact on individual For a person diagnosed with a mental illness one of the biggest barriers to recovery is discrimination, it can have a huge impact on how a person views themselves, recovery can be slower and much harder to achieve (MOH, 2005). ... ... middle of paper ... ...osts nothing: a survey of discrimination faced by people with experience of mental illness in Aotearoa New Zealand. Auckland: Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. Ref 7 Whiteside, R. G., & Steinberg, F. E. (2003). Creating partnerships: A New Zealand guide to including families in mental health assessment and treatment. Auckland, New Zealand: Phac publications. Ref 6 Like Minds Taranaki. (2010). About us: like minds hau rite o Taranaki. Retrieved on July 28, 2010 from Like Minds Taranaki. (2010). Consumer advisors, peer support, advocacy & support groups: like minds hau rite o Taranaki. Retrieved on July 29. 2010 from
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