How Stigma Interferes With Mental Health Care Patrick Corrigan’s article on stigmas and how they interfere with mental care brings insight into a world that many people face. Although there are conflicting ideas on how exactly stigmas towards mentally ill people are broken down, (people labeled mentally ill are stigmatized more severely than those with other health conditions; people with psychotic disorders are judged more harshly than people with depression or anxiety disorders) there is an ever looming problem with the treatment for mental disorders.
Most people diagnosed with a mental disorder avoid many treatment options, or if they are in a treatment program, they do not finish it to completion. There are four social-cognitive processes that contribute to the stigma process known as cues, stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. The cues are what lead people to stigmatize those affected by mental disorders, such being maybe the way a person looks. A scruffy unkempt appearance can lead to the stigma that dirty people have mental disorders. Stereotypes and prejudices cause many to follow a negative idea set about mentally ill people.
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The discriminatory factor causes avoidance of those with a disorder and less interaction between them and the public. Public Stigma: Harm to Social Opportunities Stereotype, prejudice, and discrimination all hinder the normal life someone diagnosed with a mental disorder could possibly have. Stereotypes and a prejudice stigmatism can keep many from opportunities that are essential for life goals. Corrigan writes that several studies have shown that public stereotypes and prejudice about mental illness have a deleterious impact on obtaining and keeping good jobs (Corrigan pg. 616).
Not only is it fitting in with the public that is harmful to persons with mental disorders, but the outlook on them from the view of the law. Mentally ill individuals are more often than normal people to be arrested by the police. This causes mentally ill people to spend a much larger amount of time in jail and/or prison. Mentally ill people also take a big hit from the health care system. People labeled mentally ill are less likely to benefit from the depth and breadth of available physical health care services than people without these illnesses. Self-Stigma: Harm to Self-Esteem
The way a person views themselves can be another reason why so many of those diagnosed with mental illnesses avoid or quit helping treatments. Research shows that people with mental illness often internalize stigmatizing ideas that are widely endorsed within society. This brings about a belief that they are less valued because of their psychiatric disorder. The inability to obtain jobs or achieve life goals greatly affects a person’s self-esteem and self-efficacy. If people deny that they have a mental disorder then there would be no need to be judged by others, thus keeping their self-esteem somewhat positive.
Stigma and Diversity Diversity also plays a huge role in the reason so many mentally ill people avoid treatment and therapy. European Americans are more likely to seek out treatment as opposed to African Americans or Hispanics. Some evidence shows that minority races do not see the benefit of seeking out help and treatment for their disorders. Reaction With myself not being affected by a mental disorder, I never knew how hard it was to deal with a disorder like the ones so many are plagued with.
A rather shocking fact that was put forth within Corrigan’s article was the fact that “Research from the Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) Study showed that less than 30% of people with psychiatric disorders seek treatment” (Corrigan pg. 615). With self-esteem, society, diversity and all other social factors having an impact on mentally ill people, it is not hard to imagine why so many would try to hide their disorder. The constant fight to want to fit into what society deems “normal” can be a very straining process. I found it interesting to see how the self-stigma chart was along the same lines of the public stigma chart.
Both in the public’s eye and in the eye of the person suffering from the mental disorder, the thought of being near or having to interact with a mentally ill person is almost atrocious. The thoughts centered on discrimination really set this idea in. “I do not want to be near them; don’t hire them at my job,” (Corrigan pg. 617) is just one of the views put forth by the public’s stigmatizing view on mentally ill people. The inside view from the ill are almost identical, “Why should I even try to get a job; I’m an incompetent mental patient” (Corrigan pg. 617).
Research shows that people who endorse some level of personal-stigma are less likely to seek help. One way to lessen the stigma that burdens those unlucky enough to suffer from a mental disorder is just by educating the public. If the public were simply informed that many mentally ill people were no different than someone who is paralyzed or suffering from diabetes, a great weight would be lifted off of everyone’s shoulders. References Corrigan, P. (2004). How stigma interferes with mental health care. American Psychologist, 50, 614-625. Retrieved from http://www. lifeatuni. com/media/socwork_podcast_singer/Corrigans%20Stigma%20Article. pdf