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The Benefits of Reducing Mental Health Stigma

According to an article from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), one in five, or 57.8 million adults in the United States, are living with a mental health disorder. Furthermore, of these 57.8 million adults, only 47.2% (25.6 million) received mental health treatment. Numerous factors contribute to less than half of U.S. adults receiving mental health support. However, mental health stigma is a common barrier that negatively impacts the well-being of millions of people.

What Is Mental Health Stigma?

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), stigma is a negative social attitude towards a physical, mental, or social characteristic deemed deficient. The negative perception of the “deficient” characteristic often leads to prejudice, discrimination, and exclusion of anyone perceived to have that characteristic.

Moreover, as noted in an article on stigma from APA, mental health stigma is a lack of knowledge and or fear that perpetuates prejudices and discrimination against people with mental health disorders. However, stigma is an expansive term that can include multiple types that cause harm to people in various spheres of life.

Types of Stigma

As noted by APA, three types of stigma impact people with mental health disorders:

  1. Public stigma:
    • Stereotypes/Prejudice
      • Dangerous
      • Incompetent
      • Unpredictable
      • Responsible for disorder
    • Discrimination
      • Employment
      • Housing
      • Healthcare quality
  2. Self-stigma:
    • Internalized shame
      • Dangerous
      • Incompetent
      • To blame for the disorder
    • Discrimination
      • Low self-esteem
      • Decreased self-efficacy
  3. Institutional stigma:
    • Systemic barriers
      • Policies, practices, and organizations that limit opportunities
    • Discrimination
      • Loss of opportunities from unconscious and conscious bias

Meanwhile, mental health stigma can have profound negative impacts on the lives of those living with mental health disorders.

The Negative Impact of Mental Health Stigma

According to an article from the World Psychiatry Journal, stigma coupled with physical and psychological difficulties can limit and or bars people from opportunities that make up a quality life. Some of the  barriers and other negatives people with mental health disorders can experience from stigma include:

  • Inadequate healthcare
  • Withheld health resources
  • Employment rejection
  • Unsafe housing
  • Exclusion
  • Violence
  • Self-discrimination
  • Decreased mental wellness

However, the harm caused by mental health stigma can be reduced with knowledge and inclusion.

Benefits of Mental Health Literacy

As noted by Mental Health America (MHA), mental health literacy is defined as a tool to build cognitive and social skills for individuals to gain access, understand, and use the information to promote and maintain their wellness. Therefore, mental health literacy is invaluable in expanding the public’s understanding of mental health. With knowledge comes the power to reduce stereotypes and prejudice and help dismantle the institutional barriers of mental health stigma.

At The Guest House, we know public perceptions of mental health care are behind on understanding and supporting the needs of people with mental health disorders. However, we are committed to supporting you with knowledge and tools to recognize the interconnected relationship between your trauma and your mental health. Through our person-centered approach to care, you can rediscover love and acceptance for yourself in a supportive and non-judgmental environment for long-term healing.

Mental health stigma can lead to stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination that negatively impact people with mental health disorders. Types of stigmas, including public stigma, self-stigma, and institutional stigma, perpetuate exclusion, poor health outcomes, and barriers to care and opportunities for people with mental health disorders. However, with support and mental health literacy, misconceptions and discrimination can be reduced for a better quality of life. Here at The Guest House, we believe in the empowerment of knowledge and person-centered care to support you on your journey of self-love and acceptance for long-term healing. To learn more call us at (855) 483-7800.