incredible-marketing Arrow

What Is Stigma?

Join the conversation about mental health and mental illness, and you are likely to hear the word “stigma”. You aren’t likely to hear the word “stigma” in a positive context. Stigma has a negative context in the conversation on mental health and mental illness because stigma creates negative perceptions about mental illnesses as well as the people who are living with them.

The dictionary definition of stigma reads as follows: “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person”. Stigma is a damaging belief or opinion which paints someone in a negative light simply due to the “particular circumstance” of their mental illness.

What Do People Believe About Mental Illness?

“Understanding the impact of stigma on people with mental illness” published in World Psychiatry outlined three distinct factors of stigmatizing attitudes held by English and American citizens regarding mental illness, discovered through a survey. First, people believed that people with mental illness are scary, meaning, there is something about someone with a mental illness which should be feared. Since people with mental illness inspire fear, they should be discriminated against and kept out of communities. Second, people believe that people with mental illness are not capable of being responsible for their own lives. Third, people believe that people with mental illness need to be cared for by others. As a result of these widely held beliefs, people change their behaviors toward those they know are living with mental illness or those who they perceive to be living with mental illness.

According to the study, discrimination due to the stigma against mental illness can take on at least four forms:

  • Not offering help to those who need it
  • Avoiding those with mental illness or those perceived to have a mental illness
  • Coercing those with mental illness into treatment which may not be right for them
  • Segregation in institutions where everyone should be created equally

We Can #CureStigma

The first week of October marks Mental Illness Awareness Week, established by the government in 1990. Each year, NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness chooses a pertinent theme to raise awareness and educate the public. This year, the organization focuses on Curing the Stigma through awareness, compassion, empathy, and understanding. When we change our beliefs, we end stigma. When we end stigma, we realize that everyone on earth is worthy of our love and compassion, regardless of any “particular circumstance”.

At The Guest House Ocala, we offer residential treatment programs specialized for the care of traumas, addictions, and related mental health issues. Call us today for information on our trauma treatment programs and our concierge style customization for every guest: 1-855-483-7800