Essay Example Describing Self-Stigma and Social Stigma

Published: 2022-09-29
Essay Example Describing Self-Stigma and Social Stigma
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Mental health
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1314 words
11 min read


This is the state whereby an individual develops some stereotypes about his or her mental illness. It is common with patients suffering from diseases such as schizophrenia. Most people believe that a person with mental health issues is dangerous to the community and the people around them. As a result, the patient may also develop a notion in their mind that they are dangerous and not accepted to mingle and interact with the other community members. As a result of this, they may avoid interactions with other people. The patients may even go to the extent of locking themselves up in their rooms or homes and avoiding any social contact. They may also feel shy in social gatherings such as family meetings, workplaces and many other places where the patient is likely to encounter a large number of people.

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The result of this mentality is that the patients may avoid seeing their doctors due to the stigma. This is especially harmful to them as they lack the means to recover from their current situation without the psychological support that is obtained from the psychologist or any other trained personnel. They may also suffer from reduced self-esteem which in turn reduces the ability to achieve their goals. Four significant stages are associated with social stigma. First is the realization that one is mentally ill. Awareness can be helpful since it may help in seeking treatment for the patient. The realization is however harmful in this case since the patient tends to avoid other people upon realizing that they are ill. The second step is the acceptance that they are sick. They, therefore, avoid being seen as ordinary people by using several ways such as quitting jobs to avoid the people. They are also seen to avoid doing certain activities. An example of such a case is when a patient avoids doing their normal work routines which would otherwise get them promotion with a claim that the promotion is not fit for them since they have mental illnesses.

The third stage is the application where the patient evaluates their condition in relation to other people. The most probable conclusion that the patient will come with is that they are weak and therefore not as accepted in a community as the other ordinary members. They, thus, avoid some of the activities that require some skills and understanding. They choose the tasks that are easier compared to the other people. The result is that fore working citizens, the work output of the individual is reduced while for students, the grades may drop upon reaching this stage. The final step is when the individual concludes that since they are not normal like the others, they cannot make it in life. This is a significant reduction of the aspirations that a person has. They end up leading low and poor lives due to the condition if left unattended (Coorigan & Rao, 2012). The result of self-stigma is that the individual may avoid treatment since the person feels unaccepted and below the average person which makes them avoid any interactions with other people including their physicians (Coorigan, Druss &Perlick, 2014).

Another reason why the people do not access medical care for their mental illnesses is that they do not trust the doctors who treat them. In a recent study involving black people who underwent treatment, 48% of the men said that they did not trust the medical procedures (Lisa et al., 2014). They also did not trust the medical establishments as they seemed biased in the way that they offered care. Due to the mistrust, the patients went for very long periods without treatment.

Social Stigma

This is the type of stigma that is received by the patients from other people who are around them in the community. The relatives and some of the society members may discriminate against the members who have mental health. The people may be denied some of the commodities that the ordinary people are given. They are also denied some of the opportunities that are given to other people such as chances for job promotions, decent housing among others. Due to this, the patients lack the opportunity to change their future and grow both physically and mentally. It may also lead to the delay in the time that they take to recover since they do not av proper time to interact with the other people and learn how to behave like an average person. The patients are also discriminated against by those close to them due to religious beliefs (Weber & Pargament, 2014). African Americans tend to have strong opinions; both cultural and religious. The people lack enough knowledge about mental conditions. While some of the biological reasons for mental illness may have a manifestation that is clear and easily diagnosed, some of the other mental illnesses among the population may not manifest. The relatives and other close people may jump into conclusions about the conditions depending on the cultural and religious beliefs that they have. The patients, in turn, suffer from social stigma. The patients may also undergo racial discrimination in the places of treatment which is also a form of social stigma(Goerge, Duran & Norris, 2013). The patients choose to be treated by people if the same race since they are most likely free of bias. The choice reduces the scope of doctors who can help them. Those are the main explanations of social stigma.

Due to the condition that they have, the mentally ill may face some of the following barriers in treatment. It is noted that about half of the mentally ill adults in the United States do not get access to medical care. Below are some of the barriers that the people have.

First, they lack enough capital to pay for their medical bills. This leads to them assuming that some of them will heal by attending some of the care which is unlikely since one needs to get full medical attention. The costs of the treatment are high despite the affordable healthcare act that urges the health care providers to cover for some of the medical expenses. There is also an apparent shortage of medical personnel who can handle the mentally ill patients. The existing ones also charge exorbitantly compared to the other doctors who specialize in other sectors. The situation is further worsened by a large number of people who need the treatment. The population of ill people is large which makes the doctors who specialize in this areas of medicine to have a large workload. They, therefore, cannot attend most of the ill patients.

In addition to the above problems that the African Americans face, their esteem is significantly reduced by their race (Hughes, Keicolt, Keith & Demo, 2015). Due to the racial discrimination that is associated with the United States, the social status of the individuals is significantly reduced. The people gain some weak sense of self and social identity. They tend to see themselves as undeserving of some of the treatment that the majority groups in the nation have access to. They, therefore, avoid consulting with the doctors on the mental conditions. They avoid expressing some of their problems to physicians as they may seem culturally and religiously incorrect. The result of concealing such information is that the doctors may give a wrong diagnosis due to inefficient information.

It is essential that one recognizes their religious beliefs whenever seeking medical advice. A person should go to a physician who has a proper understanding of a patients religious background to avoid any implications that some of the practices may have on the patients. The doctors should also advise the patients and those who take care of them about some of the misguided information that they may have in case there are any. This reduces social stigmatization for the population after they go back to their areas of stay (Richard and Bergin, 2014).

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