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Stigma in Mental Illness

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Free «Stigma in Mental Illness» Essay Sample

The mental health field faces major challenges. One of the key issues identified among people with mental illnesses is the symptoms experienced and peoples’ reaction to the illness. Whereas symptoms can customarily be alleviated by a number of processes, the characteristic stigma and discrimination connected with mental illness may persevere for a lifespan and can manifest themselves in different ways. In the face of mental illness, stigma takes the form of labelling, distrust, fear, etc. These forms of stigma have major negative impacts on the patients. Most significantly, stigma negatively influences the treatment, occupation and earnings, self-confidence, and families. The research proposal seeks to investigate the stigma related to mental illness.

Research Question

The key research question entails understanding the stigma concomitant with mental illness. The research also examines the following sub areas of the subject:

  • Do people with mental illness have a stigma?
  • What are the nature and forms of stigma connected with mental illness?
  • What are the effects of stigma on people with mental illness?

Research Targets and Goals

            The main goal of the research is to identify the stigma associated with mental illness and its effects on the patients in the modern society. What is more, the targets and goals of the research will comprise the following aspects:

  • To recognize the effects of stigmatization of mental illness.
  • To define mental illness and stigmatization.
  • To establish the connection between stigmatization and treatment of mental illness.

Nature and Forms of Stigma Associated with Mental Illness

In the modern society, a number of people suffer from mental illnesses in the form of depression and schizophrenia. According to health reports, people having a mental disorder or other mental issues are among the most defamed, marginalized, separated and disadvantaged people of the society (Link, Struening, Neese-Todd, Asmussen, & Phelan, 2014). A comprehensive and modern definition of the mental illness refers to the range of thoughts, sentiments, and behaviors connected with interpersonal relationships and purposes necessary at work, school, home, etc. From the definition, mental illness is a universal problem. On the other hand, stigma refers to the negative attitudes and behaviors towards people with a mental illness, which make the affected individuals feel isolated (Corrigan, Morris, Michaels, Rafacz, & Rüsch, 2012).

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The forms of stigma occur in a procedural manner. The process of stigmatization entails recognition of cues, and appearance of stereotypes, and prejudice. According to medical definitions, cues refer to the social cognitive process of identifying that something is different in an individual. In this regards, cues take different forms, including physical, social, and cognitive and psychiatric diagnosis (Link et al, 2014). Essentially, psychiatric diagnosis is the strongest cue in relation to a mental illness. Another form of stigmatization is stereotyping. Stereotypes appear within an individual’s thinking process. They refer to the knowledge that are acquired by a group of people. The final stage of the stigma process is prejudice, which is a result of perceptive and sentimental responses to typecasts. At this level, people employ strong statements, such as “I hate them” and “They are dangerous”, which negatively influences people with mental illnesses. Prejudice comes with discrimination, whereby the patients are not wholly accepted in the society, at workplace, schools, or even at home (Corrigan, 2015).

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Effects of Stigma

In the modern society, there is a widespread perception that people with mental illnesses are violent and dangerous. The stigmatization of a mental illness is currently considered to be one of the most significant issues facing the mental health field. According to World Health Organization reports, a large number of people are affected by various mental illnesses globally with statistics showing that 1 out of every 5 people suffers from a mental illness, with over 5% of the population having severe cases of mental illness (Link et al, 2014). Stigmatization of mental illnesses takes place across different countries, cultures, social classes, communities, and age groups. The main effect of stigmatization is the establishment of barriers to personal development and receipt of treatment that would ensure the betterment of the patient. People with mental illnesses have a stigma, which leaves a negative impact on them leading to isolation. Stigma in mental illnesses has attracted attention of scholars, who try to indicate adverse effects on the patients and their families (Corrigan, 2015). The most devastating impact of stigma on mentally ill people is the barrier it presents in seeking medical attention. Stigmatization delays treatment, impairs recovery, isolates people, and prevents them from seeking employment and enjoying the daily activities. Stigma in mental illnesses can be self-stigma or public-stigma. However, the effects of both stigmas on the mentally ill people are similar (Corrigan et al, 2012).

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Research Methodology

The focus of this section is the description of the research design and methods applicable in data collection on stigma of mental illnesses. In order to attain the appropriate and intended outcomes, it is paramount to select the proper research design. In this regard, the quantitative approach will be instrumental in this study. However, the research will use both quantitative and qualitative designs in order to address the research problems. Respondents will be randomly selected, with vast experience in the health field. Content analysis will be used to collect secondary data. It involves studying a number of literature sources in order to collect data that will be used to answer the acknowledged research questions. It involves reviewing the content of different pertinent writings and experimental certification in a bid to find information.


From the above discussion, it is clear that a mental illness has a stigma. The two forms of mental illnesses identified include depression and schizophrenia. The effects of stigmatization are negative and act as a barrier to the betterment of the patient. Most patients with depression tend to engage in alcohol use/abuse, which only makes the situation worse. Extreme depression cases always lead to severe a mental illness, which calls for pertinent medical attention. It is important that mentally ill people receive proper medical attention and minimized or zero stigmatization.

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