Mental Health Stigma

958 Words2 Pages

The issue of mental health is not often a high priority on political agendas. Yet individuals with mental illnesses suffer every day from the stigma they face from being labeled “mentally ill”. Stigma, in terms of mental health, is defined as “the threats of diminished self-esteem and of public identification when labeled ‘mentally ill’” (Corrigan, 2004, p. 614). The article “How Stigma Interferes with Mental Health Care” seeks to discover why the stigma that people with mental illnesses face causes these individuals to not take advantage of mental health services and/or treatments. This is an important issue that needs more attention because even though there are plenty of evidence based psychological treatments and interventions, only thirty …show more content…

As the article says “structural stigma develops…can be centuries long rather than the few years…” (Corrigan, 2004, p. 621). Our perceptions towards people who are diagnosed as depressed, bipolar, alcoholics, schizophrenics, etc. tend to be that of pity or disgust- the “mental illness” the individual is conflicted with is simply an excuse for situations or problems they do not want to deal with. This clearly needs to be changed, but the reason behind these ignorant beliefs is often due to lack of exposure or knowledge of these types of mental illnesses. By the time we graduate from high school, I feel as though we have been well educated on many physical illnesses. With diagnoses of mental illnesses rising, I believe students should be educated on mental illnesses, alongside physical illnesses, and with the same amount of detail. Without education on specific mental illnesses, it is nearly impossible for someone to understand the effects that illness can have on an individual’s functionality and the level of distress they are attempting to deal with. As someone who was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as an eight year old child, I found it much too embarrassing to tell my other third grade friends that I was going to therapy weekly, because I was afraid they would think of me as strange (if only they knew what my “compulsions” were like- then they would definitely think I was crazy!). But since I was only in the third grade, it is not expected that my peers would understand what was going on. However, by the time one reaches high school graduation, they have a fair share of experience and knowledge of people they associate with, and often know some people with mental illnesses. It is not uncommon for high schoolers to have knowledge about the etiology and symptoms of

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