Stigma Of Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness

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Emily Shaw Snelgrove English 12 03/26/15 Eradicating Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental illness each year (Mental Health Foundation). Though mental illness is so common there is an extreme stigma surrounding it. Unfortunately people dealing with mental illness not only have to deal with an arsenal of serious symptoms, but also with hurtful social and self-stigmas. Names like psycho, nutcase, and freak have been prevalent through society for years. These social stigmas increase the fear and shame in people who may be dealing with mental illness and soon develop into self stigmas such as: “I’m crazy” and “I can’t be helped.” Behaviors such as these reinforce the negative stereotypes that bombard society. Gaining an understanding of why there is a stigma, how inaccurate stereotypes are debilitating to the function of those with mental illnesses, and how recognizing social and self-stigma surrounding mental illness will be the first steps to eradicate this problem. People with mental disorders or illnesses are far more likely to be victims than perpetrators of crimes. However in newspapers and during media coverage violent criminals are often labeled psychos, maniacs, or schizophrenics. Media, television, and music often dramatize and portray people with mental illnesses inaccurately (Polatis.) “TV shows can also damage people 's perspective of mental illness by only showing the most extreme cases. When you do that with mental illness, you’re creating a stigma that stays with people because people don’t know what the illness is”(Polatis). At this current time when the media is so prevalent in society people’s opinions easily result from depiction displayed on T.V. or in gossip magazine... ... middle of paper ... ... of society that is not acceptable. “We all likely know someone who has experienced a mental illness at some point. Yet there are still many hurtful attitudes around mental illnesses that fuel stigma and discrimination and make it harder to reach out for help”(Canadian Mental Association). As society reduces fear and gains compassion for people fighting against mental illness the creation of stigmas and discrimination can end. Mental health advocate Mark Henick said, “I used to beg people to do something about suicide and stigma. Well, that’s not acceptable anymore, so instead I started doing something.” Society has to forgo its fear to recognize that it is creating harmful and sometimes unforgivable stigmas that can lead to terrifying realities. These stigmas are detrimental to people fighting mental illness and whether society is ready or not, it is time to change.

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