Stigma in Mental Health

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Stigma is something that is considered negative in society. Stigma is a kind of negativity that separates a person from society which is created by the society itself. Stigma can be considered a disgrace or a fault that decides the fate of a person. Stigma is a broad concept but it could be said that it is a sense of shame or guilt that is infused in a person by society in such a way that the individual is completely ostracised (Henderson et al., 2014). Stigma could be defined as the negative stereotype that affects a person directly and may lead to mental illness. There has been several research on the impact of stigma on people which have only indicated that stigma is something that is socially created only to destroy society. People with mental illness do not suffer alone and somehow the families and friends of the affected individual are cursed with their share of pain (Keene et al., 2015). The present report will encapsulate a discussion of stigma and will also highlight its impact on the individual. The study will involve a discussion of secondary data mainly from online sources which would help to cover the objectives of the study properly.

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Concept of stigma and its impact

Every individual in society is deficient in something. No individual in society is completely perfect, but years of research and constant scientific innovation have not been able to eliminate the negative thinking of human beings on certain issues. Several questions have been raised by the educated society in the world but somehow everyone becomes apprehensive when it comes to the subject of mental illness. People rather than being open about their mental problems tend to shroud their weaker sides and when society comes to know about this it somehow feels that the balance of the society is impaired and it tries to retire or ostracise the person affected and this is where the concept of stigma comes into the picture. Stigma is probably one of the most common psychological concepts studied by scholars. Stigma is a multi-faceted concept and too abstract to be explained in pen and paper but numerous people all across the world carry stigma with them and are constantly ashamed of it (Corrigan, Druss, and Perlick, 2014). Mental illness is now considered a scientific problem despite that there are many people have been reported saying they are embarrassed by mentally ill people which is one of the key indicators of the constant modernization of the world or to say the deteriorating mindset of people. There could be different kinds of mental illness and people who realize they have mental illness tend to keep within themselves and try not to mingle with the outside world which largely affects their social life and also promotes a sense of wildness in them. Stigma leads to discrimination. Even though in the contemporary world humans are narcissistic somehow they do not want to understand anything about mental health cases and act like old age ignorant. Individuals with stigma are not spared by society, even in this society that considers itself highly educated and liberal acts to be intolerant to accept the existence of people with mental illness. This might seem to be a good decision for them but it becomes a curse for their family and friends (Corrigan and Rao, 2012). There have been several cases where stigmatism has become highly violent in the absence of love which shows that the option of asylum is not the last resort for these patients. The person bearing the stigmata is not the only one who suffers but the others attached to him or her mainly the family and friends also suffer tremendous inner turmoil and pain of not being able to stop this constant pain of the loved and close ones (Corrigan et al., 2012). The so-called stereotypes are judged by people and are often thrown out of society not only by the person himself but also by the family and it draws conspicuous negative results for the person to become violent or a ruffian. Hence the contemporary educated society needs to understand that stigma is in the eye of the beholder and has many interpretations which if channeled positively could allow a person to come back to mainstream life.

Anti-stigma campaigns are extremely important for mental health patients which would help them to come back to mainstream life. The anti-stigma campaigns are not only important for people with mental health issues but they will also be effective for the coming generations as these people will play an effective role in curbing the impact of mental health and stigma (Rodgers and Pilgrim, 2014). There are several bodies and voluntary organizations that have been able to spread awareness regarding stigma and its impacts on society which has driven many people to join these anti-stigma campaigns to share their pains and also to get long-term respite and consistent support from health and social care professionals. Anti-stigma campaigns like counseling campaigns, communications sessions, and observational therapy are effective in treating stigma effectively (Clemente et al., 2015).

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Practical Analysis of Stigma

  1. Liam is a young of around 18 who has shared his story of the stigma that surrounds him in his daily life. The young boy suffers both anxiety and depression and probably this can’t get any worse than that. He suffers a panic attack that affects his entire day. For four long years, he has suffered from these issues and has kept them within himself due to fear of being avoided and bullied. The problem that has manifested so hugely now was initially considered by him to be miniscule but when the realisation came it grabbed him tight which affected his daily life. It didn’t affect only him but also his parents and friends. He started remaining aloof from them which definitely affected his relationship and also created mental pressure on the family. In this case, Liam has been very open about handling stigma and mental health conditions which is to communicate the mental health problems one can face. He communicated his problems to his friend who was able to understand and then accordingly helped him to come back to mainstream life. In this scenario, it is important to mention that people’s mindset about mental health is getting the publicity it deserves which would be effective in eliminating mental health issues in people like Liam (Time to Change, 2017).

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Stigma is something that could affect the life of any person and can create a distance between the individual, his family, and friends. The stigmatic needs to communicate their issues and grievances which would help to address their pains. Hence it could be said that mental illness is something that could be addressed by different campaigns.


Clement, S., Schauman, O., Graham, T., Maggioni, F., Evans-Lacko, S., Bezborodovs, N., Morgan, C., Rüsch, N., Brown, J.S.L. and Thornicroft, G., 2015. What is the impact of mental health-related stigma on help-seeking? A systematic review of quantitative and qualitative studies. Psychological medicine45(01), pp.11-27.

Corrigan, P.W. and Rao, D., 2012. On the self-stigma of mental illness: Stages, disclosure, and strategies for change. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry57(8), pp.464-469.

Corrigan, P.W., Druss, B.G. and Perlick, D.A., 2014. The impact of mental illness stigma on seeking and participating in mental health care. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 15(2), pp.37-70.

Corrigan, P.W., Morris, S.B., Michaels, P.J., Rafacz, J.D. and Rüsch, N., 2012. Challenging the public stigma of mental illness: a meta-analysis of outcome studies. Psychiatric Services63(10), pp.963-973.

Henderson, C., Noblett, J., Parke, H., Clement, S., Caffrey, A., Gale-Grant, O., Schulze, B., Druss, B. and Thornicroft, G., 2014. Mental health-related stigma in health care and mental health-care settings. The Lancet Psychiatry, 1(6), pp.467-482.

Keene, D.E., Cowan, S.K. and Baker, A.C., 2015. “When you’re in a crisis like that, you don’t want people to know”: mortgage strain, stigma, and mental health. American Journal of Public Health, 105(5), pp.1008-1012.

Rogers, A. and Pilgrim, D., 2014. A sociology of mental health and illness. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).


In-text: (Time To Change, 2017)

Your Bibliography: Time To Change. (2017). I didn’t take my mental health seriously until I spoke to a friend about it. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Mar. 2017].

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