The Importance Of Stigma

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Those who suffer from mental health conditions are often plagued by stigma and discrimination in society. Stigma can be defined as a negative stereotype that causes behaviours which lead to alienation and the creation of barriers that affect a completely satisfying life. The stigma can cause many negative consequences that can influence a person’s treatment, recovery and ability to obtain proper housing and jobs. Society should spend more time educating people on the importance of ending the stigma surrounding mental health, so this disadvantaged group can have a chance of leading a successful and happy life. To express the importance of ending the stigma, the following paragraphs will discuss my personal experiences with mental illness, the…show more content…
The stigmatizers cause negative attitudes which an individual directs inward as a form of coping, this in the end has an effect on their overall recovery (Vertilo & Gibson, 2014, p.267a). Not only does the stigma affect treatment but it also affects their lives in other ways. Vertilo and Gibson (2014) explain how “the label of mental illness discredits ones social identity by reducing the individual’s status and prevents the individual from obtaining jobs or housing and excludes many from aspects of social life” (p.266). The two most common stigmas perceive those with illnesses as dangerous and responsible for having said illness. Due to these assumptions, those facing illness tend to become socially withdrawn, have loss of productivity and lowered self-esteem. (Vertilo & Gibson, 2014, p.267a) These negative effects of the stigma act as barriers for treatment seeking attitudes and thus affecting their overall recovery (Vertilo & Gibson, 2014, p.267a). In my own experiences, these negative effects have led to consequences which impaired my social relationships because of my low self-esteem. As Vertilo and Gibson would say: society continues to “reinforce these misconceptions that mental illnesses are stable, permanent and unresponsive” and “Fallacies about mental health must be disapproved” (Vertilo & Gibson, 2014,…show more content…
The Swedish study done in 2013 about attitudes towards mental illness shows that more open-minded individuals held more positive attitudes towards those with mental illness. After examining the sample, Vertilo and Gibson presented their own study that examines how individual differences of character strength like “social intelligence, open-mindedness, kindness and hope” can provide insights in helping decrease the stigma surrounding mental health (Vertilo & Gibson, 2014, p.267a). Individuals who obtain these four character strengths are more likely to have positive social interactions and ideals about those who have been diagnosed with an illness (Vertilo & Gibson, 2014, p.267a). Even though not everyone obtains these four character strengths, if those who do are seen having positive relationships with the mentally ill, the group will slowly become more accepted in society. Because there has been a growth in interest surrounding the burden of mental illness and the stigma it creates, organizations such as the World Health Organization and the World Association for Social Psychiatry have realized how the stigma has become a prevalent challenge in regards to public health (Stewert, 2008, p. 187a). “There has been growing support for stigma reduction
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