Public stigma is defined as the degree to which the general public holds negative views and discriminates against a specific group (Pedersen & Paves, 2014). Stigma is a form of discrimination that has been characteristically associated with mental illness. The psychological impact of stigma reflects the notion that people internalize society’s negative ascriptions about their group, with negative consequences for their self-esteem (Thornicroft et al., 2015).
Stigma as it relates to mental health is a relevant issue in social work; as evidenced by 1,022 search results in Summons Social Work Abstract search engine. Social workers should be cognizant of the issue of how mental illness is associated with stigma in order to effectively serve the population, and select appropriate interventions. Stigmatization from the perceiver’s perspective falls into two broad approaches: motivational and cognitive. In 2008, Darity stated that the cognitive approach conceptualizes stigmatization as a by-product of human information-processing biases.
People tend to use schemas, or mental categories, to reduce the potentially limitless number of stimuli in the world into more manageable groupings. Cognitive processes bring about stigma primarily because they ...
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...tilization of services for young people who could to benefit from care. This will be a critical factor in transforming the system thereby, minimizing the long term impact of an individuals’ internalized stigma over the life course.
The discrepancy between perceived public and personal stigma creates an underlying psychopathology in mental illnesses; subsequently, leading people to pessimistically evaluate themselves. As we begin identifying specific emotions and attitudes associated with different manifestations of stigma; the field is moving toward a more precise, balanced science. Interventions that target the reduction of public and personal stigma will lead to desired outcomes (Pedersen & Panes, 2014). Social workers should measure the progressively harmful stages of self-stigma when assessing clients for appropriate interventions (Corrigan et al.,2015).
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