October 20, 2020

Overcoming the Stigma on Mental Health

Stigma is when individuals see you in a negative way because you may have certain characteristics or personal traits that’s thought to be a disadvantage. It is
common that people have negative attitudes and beliefs among individuals who suffer from mental health conditions. 

It is known that stigma can lead to discrimination by individuals making negative comments to you about your mental illness or your treatment. Also, someone can unintentionally or subtly discriminate against your mental illness by avoiding you because the person assumes that you are unstable, violent, or dangerous. 

It is known that there is a stigma on mental health because there is a lack of understanding of mental illness. It is important for individuals to learn to accept their condition and recognize that they need to seek support from family and health professionals. 

Below, explains how stigma can negatively affect mental health, be a barrier for patients with mental health issues, and tips on how individuals can cope with stigma on mental health.

Harmful Effects of Stigma

  • Reluctant to seek help or treatment from a medical profession.
  • There’s a lack of understanding by family, friends, or co-workers.
  • There’s fewer opportunities for work, school, or social activities.
  • It can result in bullying, harassment, and physical violence.
  • Health insurance may not cover mental illness treatment.
  • The belief that you can’t improve any challenges or that you’ll never succeed.

How Stigma is a Barrier for Patients with Mental Health Issues

  • In 2014, it was reported from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that only 2.5 million of the 21.2 million individuals who are suffering from mental illness actually receive treatment. Public health officials believe that stigma is the fundamental barrier for individuals receiving care. Researchers have concluded that 40 percent of the 60 million patients who suffer from mental illness go without treatment.
  • Various stigmas that patients with mental illness face include: Public stigma is considered to be a negative attitude and belief that causes individuals to fear, reject, avoid, and discriminate against others that have a mental illness. This type of stigma causes individuals to not receive mental health care. Also, it is known that public stigma causes discrimination and segregation. For instance, people who suffer from mental illness are more likely to experience housing and employment discrimination compared to individuals who don’t have a mental illness. Self-Stigma is the process where a stigmatized individual develops negative feelings about themselves from internalizing the public’s attitude toward mental illness. For instance, individuals who suffer from conditions like schizophrenia are vulnerable in endorsing stereotypes about themselves for saying, “I am afraid of myself” or “I am dangerous.” When individuals internalize negative stereotypes regarding mental illness, they will suffer from low self-esteem, poor self-efficacy, and other negative emotional reactions.
  • It is known that stigma is an obstacle in pediatric mental health care because parents are not looking for mental health care for their children due to perceived stigmas. Also, there are reports that parents are concerned about accessing mental healthcare for their children because it would prompt individuals to report them to child protective services. Parents’ interest in getting treatment for their child is significantly influenced by perceived stigmas related to mental health problems or personal experiences with the mental health system.


Steps on How to Cope with Stigma

  • Receive Treatment: Individuals may feel reluctant to admit that they need treatment because they do not want to be labeled with a mental illness. Treatment is important to provide relief by identifying anything that is affecting individuals. Treatment can also reduce various symptoms that interfere
    with an individual’s personal life or work life.
  • Don’t allow stigma to create shame or self-doubt: Stigma not only comes from others, but how individuals judge themselves. For instance, individuals may believe that their mental health illness is considered a personal weakness. Many individuals who are suffering from a mental illness believe that they are able to control it without professional help. It is known that individuals will gain self-esteem and overcome self judgement if they seek counseling, educate themselves about their mental illness, and connect with others who are suffering from a mental illness. 
  • Don’t isolate yourself: It is known that people who suffer from a mental illness are reluctant to confide in others regarding their mental illness. It is important for individuals to reach out to their family, friends, or members in their community. For instance, if you reach out to people you trust, these
    people will be able to offer you support if they know about your mental illness. It is important for individuals who are suffering from a mental illness to reach out to people that they trust for the support and understanding that they need.

What We Can Do to Help:

We understand that there are stigmas regarding mental health, but if you need support, we are always here to help! Talk to our therapists today to learn more about our teletherapy service. Our telehealth service is a convenient, flexible, and effective alternative through which high-quality mental health care is provided consistently and remotely using HIPAA-compliant technologies.

Rest assured, our telehealth therapists are highly-trained professionals who can offer you the solutions with long-lasting outcomes. Call (949) 242-9720 to schedule an appointment. For faster services, email us at teletherapy@noroozclinic.com. Our services are offered in English, Farsi, and Spanish.

References:

Mayo Clinic. (2020). Mental health: Overcoming the stigma of mental illness. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/in-depth/mental-health/art-20046477.

Heath Sara. (2020). Understanding Stigma as a Mental Healthcare Barrier. Retrieved from https://patientengagementhit.com/news/understanding-stigma-as-a-mental-healthcare-barrier?utm_content=b1281c3eaa9e820f79ecee0fe1311937&utm_campaign=MHD%25206%252F8%252F17&utm_source=Robly.com&utm_medi

Parcesepe, A. M., & Cabassa, L. J. (2013). Public stigma of mental illness in the United States: a systematic literature review. Administration and policy in mental health, 40(5), 384–399. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10488-012-0430-z

Corrigan, P. W., & Rao, D. (2012). On the self-stigma of mental illness: stages, disclosure, and strategies for change. Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie, 57(8), 464–469. https://doi.org/10.1177/070674371205700804

Contact us today!
Call (949) 242-9720 to schedule an appointment. We also speak Farsi and Spanish.

References

Blessing Health System. (2020). Coping With Stress.
https://www.blessinghealth.org/treatments/coping-stress 

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Nicolette Fascenelli

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