The Challenges of Mental Health Stigma

Stigma is defined as a mark of disgrace that sets a person apart. Mental health stigma often results from those in society who group negative stereotypes and mental health disorders together, as if derogatory words were interchangeable for symptoms of a mental health disorder. People believe we are crazy, that we are dangerous, that mental illness is self-inflicted, and that we must be different from the rest of society.

When people attach words like crazy, schizo, attention-seeker, and other names alike to people who are just trying to cope with their mental health symptoms, it is draining on all involved. People who are diagnosed often experience both prejudice and discrimination after disclosing their mental health disorders. 

 

Two Sides of Stigma

Stigma has two sides: public stigma and self-stigma. This means that when a person is diagnosed with a mental health disorder, these people will experience stigma directed at them from others around them and from their very own selves.

Public stigma, also called social stigma, is characterized as prejudicial attitudes and discriminating behavior by others directed towards individuals such as those with mental challenges as a result of the diagnosis we have been given. It's calling those with mental illness terms like lazy, crazy, or worse.

Self-stigma, also called perceived stigma, occurs when an individual with mental challenges begins internalizing their perceptions of discrimination. Using words like crazy, bipolar, or anything else derogatory to describe ourselves is a form of self stigma. Self stigma is agreeing with the negative perspectives and the stereotypes held by the public of the mentally ill and it causes you to think less of yourself because of your diagnosis.

Further Challenges

People diagnosed with a mental health disorder must struggle with the everyday symptoms and disabilities associated with their mental health disorders. This can make life challenging in itself. But further challenges include facing stigma, prejudice, and stereotyping from others in society.

In addition, a diagnosis can really impact your self-esteem negatively. It is important to find the right support. Low self-esteem can often turn into labeling yourself with stigmatic phrases that only worsen your level of self-worth. All of these challenges can weigh heavily on a person who has been diagnosed.

 

Together, Let's Work To End Mental Health Stigma

With so much mental health stigma, you would think we were still living in the dark ages. With that  negative response from others, you may not want to disclose that you deal with chronic mental illness. We must express ourselves where and when we feel safe. That is why Mad Pride Blogging was created, as a safe haven to vent about mental health issues. You can stay anonymous here. Together, let's work to end mental health stigma.

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