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Stigma of Mental Illness and ways of decreasing it by Journamed www.journamed.webs.com


Introduction This report was prepared with the aim of gaining a further understanding of mental health and the stigma attached to it. The purpose is to allow the public a greater insight into the stigma of mental health and why it still exists. This report covers the variety of stigma attached to mental illness, the effect it has on the sufferers and how it can be decreased. Stigma Every year in the United Kingdom 300 out of 1,000 people will suffer from a mental health problem, 230 will visit a GP, 102 will be diagnosed as having a mental illness, 24 of these will be referred to a local mental health service for treatment and 6 will become inpatients of psychiatric hospitals [Goldberg et all 1992]. On top of the debilitating and devastating effects of mental illness, patients have to not only battle through treatment but through stigma and discrimination of society. In a study conducted by the Samaritans charity they revealed the shocking statistic that 78% of depressed and suicidal young men have experienced bullying. [Meltzer et al (1995)] At some point you have probably used or heard someone use the term 'psycho', 'nutter', 'weak', 'waste of space', 'crazy' and many more stigmatized words used to describe people with mental health problems. From Depression to Schizophrenia and OCD to Personality disorders every day sufferers have to battle the continuing and devastating words used by society who simply have a shortened understanding of what someone is going through. All types of people can suffer from a mental health problem regardless of occupation, gender, age, sexuality, religious belief, ethic origin and wealth. Even medical students have who suffer from Depression at high rates have concerns about stigma, many feeling like they would be seen as 'less intelligent' if they sought help. Stigma has a great impact on those suffering from mental health problems who feel abandoned, isolated, not listened to, no one cares, ashamed and weak which can make an individual with mental health problems more suicidal. How can we decrease mental health stigma? Change strategies for public stigma have been grouped into three approaches: protest, education, and contact. These efforts send two messages. To the media: STOP reporting inaccurate representations of mental illness. To the public: STOP believing negative views about mental illness. Protest is a reactive strategy; it attempts to diminish negative attitudes about mental illness, but fails to promote more positive attitudes that are supported by facts. Education provides information so that the public can make more informed decisions about mental illness. Conclusions 1. Without a doubt, stigma has a direct impact on those who suffer from mental health problems and can slow down recovery and for some people prevent them even seeking treatment for their problems. 2. There are ways in which Stigma can be decreased in society by means of Protest, Education and Contact. Protest diminishes negative attitudes with mental illness, Education promotes the truth and people with mental illness and contact engages the public to look how successful in life some individuals are with mental illness.


Reference [I] Goldberg, D. & Huxley, P., (1992), 'Common mental disorders a bio-social model', London: Routledge [ii] Meltzer et al (1995) ‘Surveys of psychiatric morbidity in Great Britain: Report 1’ HMSO: London Corrigan, W & Watson A. (2002) 'Understanding the impact of stigma on people with mental illness', World Psychiatry, (16-20)

The stigma of mental illness and ways of decreasing it.  

This brief report covers the stigma of mental health and the effects it can have on patients as well as ways we can decrease the stigma of m...

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