Stigma: Alive and Well – Sadie F. Dingfelder
With the stigma surrounding mental health it allows for people to diminish their illnesses without any recognition from their loved ones. The reason most of them do not get help is due to the stigma’s creation, fear of others finding out and fears of their reactions. Part of that is due to the fact that people have been led to believe that mentally ill people are violent. The general public today are two times as likely to believe mentally ill people are violent than they were in the 1950s. Due to this, a number of tragic events have been linked to mental illness such as shootings, and women drowning their children in bathtubs. Those who shield their mental illness risk worsening their illness, though they don’t seem to care because they are more concerned with what people have to say about it, meanwhile social supports are much needed for recovery. The stigma against mental illness is making the population of the mentally ill scared, which is the opposite of what they need.
Too Many Self-Inflicted Deaths – Hilary Smith Connery, MD, PhD
The 8th leading cause of mortality in the United States is self-harm, suicide leading behind at number ten. These stats scream out for finding the root of the problem and more effective treatment systems. People are treated negatively and that needs to be avoided. The general public needs to realize that brain diseases are a chronic illness, such as a broken leg or diabetes. Such as those disorders, they can be treated with medication and therapy can be used to help treat. Though most people don’t ask for help due to the fact that they are scared of being viewed negatively, believing they can solve their own issues over time. Ending the stigma is one of the best ways to help these people, and that can be done by talking about it. They need to get the facts down, educate children and loved ones, even if you’re not sure it’ll make a difference, because in the end, it will.
The Stigma of Mental Illness is Making Us Sicker
Why Mental Illness Should be a Public Health Priority
In 1999, the U.S. Surgeon General labeled stigma as the biggest barrier to mental health care. The stigma creates Social Distancing, meaning people with mental issues are more isolated from others, which enhances the stigma. The World Health Organization and World Economic Forum says mental illness is the biggest economic burden of any health issue. 60% of people in the US don’t receive care, while in developing countries, 90% don’t receive care. The stigma begins at an early age where children are used to calling people “weird” or “crazy” which follows them into adulthood. These negative stereotypes lead perceptions that the mentally ill are dangerous, which is shown in the media, especially movies. One movie portraying a victim of Multiple Personality Disorder called, Split, has the man committing kidnapping and murders, negatively portraying the sufferers of MPD. The social isolation takes a toll on the mentally ill, causing them to feel more alone than they already do. The stigma causes victims to suppress their anxiety or depression which worsens their conditions. It also results in a lower prioritization of public resources.
Cost of Not Caring: Stigma Set in Stone
Mental illness is a separate and unequal system. Mentally ill people face legal discrimination, codified for 50 years into federal law. Lack of funding equals lack of care, leaving mentally ill in jail or on the streets. In the US, hospitals fair to provide basic sources for the mental illness population, something other countries would never do for patients with cancer. Systems like Medicaid fail to provide treatment because Congress didn’t want to waste money on the mentally ill. Denying the mentally ill treatment essentially tells the country that the mentally ill are less deserving of a decent life than the general public. Those who go untreated result in disastrous events such as suicide. If it were cancer, the government would be funding it like no tomorrow, but because of the stigma, they fail to see the severity of mental illness. Some hospitals will even turn away patients at the door, deeming them not “sick enough” for a consult. Congress didn’t want to “waste” their money on the mentally ill which has been feeding into the stigma for years on end.
Breaking America’s Mental Health Stigma – Gabe Duverge
The NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) disclosed that about 40% of individuals go untreated for their mental illness because of the mental health stigma. One claim of stigma is the disorder or getting help would equal weakness. “Individuals with mental health problems have always struggled to receive proper care and attention they need.” The stigma has been going on since the Middle Ages, where mentally ill people were thought to have been possessed. Later on in the movement to improve treatment, President Reagan signed Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act to protect mentally ill patients. This wasn’t exactly enough to end the stigma. There are two specific stigma’s for a few specific disorders: Depression, bipolar disorder, and female hysteria. One stigma is the social stigma, discrimination against the mentally ill, some violent. It’s more likely that instead of being violent themselves, the mentally ill are subjected to violence by the public. Then we have perceived stigma or self-stigma, where the patient prevents themselves from reaching out for help, believing they’ll be able to solve the issue themselves. The stigma feeds into the stigma.