Shatter the Stigma, Mend the Mind

Results of Not Seeking Help

FB_IMG_1555212209364.jpg“Individuals who suffer from mental illnesses will go to great lengths to avoid the public discovering their psychological diagnosis because they fear being severely stigmatized. This could mean personal restrictions on their ability to socialize, a fundamental key skill for seeking employment (Bathje & Pryor, 2011). Furthermore, they are reluctant to seek counselling. Although many would benefit from available resources and sources of help, they prefer to remain silent than be faced with the stigmatization.

Stigma has been defined as a mark or flaw resulting from a personal or
physical characteristic that is viewed as socially unacceptable. The stigma associated with seeking mental health services, therefore, is the perception that a person who seeks psychological treatment is undesirable or socially unacceptable. (Hackler, Vogel, & Wade, 2007)

Given the negative perception of those who suffer from mental illnesses, it is not surprising that individuals hide their mental health concerns as a protective measure from stigma. Along with the definition above, Hackler, Vogel, and Wade released a report in 2007 detailing the main reasons to fear stigmatization from the perspective of a mentally ill individual. They concluded that stigmatization deters individuals from “(a) acknowledging their illness, (b) seeking help, and (c) remaining in treatment, thus creating unnecessary suffering” (2007). The three professors from Iowa State University concluded that a better understanding of the role of stigma in seeking care would be a simple but important step in reducing the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. This would hopefully lower the number of suicides yearly caused by untreated mental illnesses.”

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.