Stigma Against Individuals with Mental Illness Essay

Stigma Against Individuals with Mental Illness Essay

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One big issue in the world right now is stigma against individuals with mental illness. One may ask, “What is stigma?” “Stigma” is one of those words one hears a lot, but if one was asked to define it, one would know where to start. In fact, the word “stigma” is in the top 10% of look ups on the Merriam-Webster Dictionary's website. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of stigma is “a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something.” The first known use of the word “stigma” was circa 1593. “Stigma” is derived from the Latin word “stigmat”, which means a mark or brand (Merriam-Webster, Incorporated). Types of stigma include prejudice, discrimination, cues, and stereotypes. Now, one must be wondering, “What does this have to do with mental illness?” Well, many individuals show stigma against mental illness. Stigma against mental illness can show up in all settings- work, school, you name it. Stigma exists in every place one can imagine. Some offenders may not realize they, themselves, are a part of the problem. By just saying myths, like sufferers of mental illness can just snap out of their illness, is enough to create stigma. Words like the aforementioned are enough to make people who suffer from mental illness want fto crawl up under their sheets and never come out. Mental illness can only get better with treatment. In fact, some disorders, such as bipolar disorder, will get worse if untreated and it will become more uncertain if the sufferer will ever get better (“Lack”). Stigma against mental illness makes people not want to get treated for their illnesses. In fact, forty percent of Americans suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are not receiving treatment. Me...


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Schizophrenia [Electronic Resource]. n.p.: [Bethesda, MD] : National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, 2009., 2009. Kennesaw State University Catalog. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.
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