It has been a repetitive and shameful practice of the United States, and other countries, to shy away from or oppress those who are different. This form of inequality is shared with immigrants, African Americans, the physically ill, and the mentally ill. In particular, the discrimination against the mentally ill becomes an interesting and unique history that has evolved due to Western medicine, and now effects the whole world. In many instances, it has become apparent that the symptoms and stigma surrounding the mentally ill stems from Western ideals as well. This paper explores this stigma, the ways oppressions are carried out, and how they are being dealt with.
When society is confronted with those who suffer from a mental illness, people are often uncomfortable and desire to shy away from interactions with them. This is a clear indicator of the stigma that emanates from mental illness. Stigmas are belief systems involve false ideals about a certain group or object. A stigma is developed over a period of time as people circulate false information and ideas about something. The stigma associated with the mentally ill is that they are violent, unable to function, and unpredictable. It takes no effort to identify the different facets of this stigma because they are engrained in one’s mind simply by being nurtured by society. Now that the stigma is being recognized—how did it come about? The root of this particular stigma seems to pop up in early immigration law, but the stigma no doubt runs even deeper in time. Starting in the early 1880s leading into the early 1970s, groups of immigrants fitting into the category of “lunatic, idiot, or any person unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge” were ...
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...e, Md.]: National Institute of Mental Health. http://catalog.hathitrust.org/api/volumes/oclc/14266640.html
This is a scholarly article from the National Institute of Mental Health that outlines the affects the stigma of mental illness has on those suffering. There are many important points addressed that show the vast impact society has on those who are mentally ill and how little is done to stop it. The article shows that for many mentally ill, the biggest handicap faced is the lack of equality from friends and family.
Rothenberg, Paula S.
2007 Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: Disability and the Justification of Inequality in American History. Douglas C. Baynton. 7th edition. Pp 91-100.
2010 The Americanization of Mental Illness: The New York Times Magazine. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/magazine/10psyche-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&
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