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Stigmatization of Mental Health

The recovery of victims of mental health is not made worse by their condition. It is made worse by people that don’t understand their condition. Stigmatization of mental health is a major issue in the United States. It has become so severe that it has even led to suicide among victims. Many people suffer from mental problems across the US, approximately 1 in 10 people. A mental problem does not have to be severe to be categorized as one. Simple things like stress and anxiety are forms of mental problems. People with permanent mental issues are more likely to face stigmatization. The reason for that is that people don’t normally recognize minor mental health issues.

Why mental health and the stigmatization are associated with it such a sensitive issue? Victims of mental problems stand to lose too much if their needs are not looked into. More than someone physical disability, a mentally ill person has almost zero chances of:

• Finding work
• Having a family (getting a normal spouse)
• Being considered for decent housing, meal or clothing
• Being included in social and societal activities.

Additionally, mental individuals are always in danger of being manipulated or taken advantage of.

Types of Stigmatization
Stigmatization of mental health comes in two ways. The first is the stigma shown towards a mentally ill person by the general public. Such stereotypes and prejudices can be easily noticed. Perpetrators normally openly stigmatize the victim or behave in a manner suggesting so. Either way, this type of stigmatization can be managed. The victim is told to ignore elements of stigmatization, or the public is educated to stop it. However, if the stigmatization is having serious effects on the victim, they are not advised to keep quiet about it. Stigmatization in workplaces or other social places can be prosecuted.

The second type of stigma is that people with mental health problems turn against themselves. Unlike public stigma, self-stigma is hard to notice. It is usually noticed when the victim has already done too much damage to themselves. Self-stigma is not prosecutable. Encouraging the person affected to view themselves in a good light is the only effective way to overcome it.

Terms Associated with Stigmatization of Mental Health
Stigmatization of mental health, whether by the public or by one’s self, has three components. They form the core of the concept of stigmatization on mental health grounds.

Stereotype – a negative and often wrong belief about people with mental problems. People often assume such people to be weak or incompetent with certain tasks. The victim may also think of themselves as having a weak character.

Discrimination – Withholding opportunities normally meant for everyone from people with mental issues. It includes elements of prejudice and sabotage in workplaces, social events, and places. Self-discrimination occurs when the victim refuses to take up certain opportunities. They fail to pursue certain tasks and privileges, thinking they don’t deserve them. The person also underestimates their potential and skills even if they are qualified externally.

Prejudice - Elements of prejudice are displayed through fear or anger towards the victim. The person’s prejudice towards themselves is shown when they agree with wrong beliefs about themselves. Prejudice is the most severe of the three components. It can lead to harming the victim by other people or by themselves.

Understanding the elements of stigmatization is not only important in helping victims recover. It also helps prepare the ground for discovering more mental health issues unknown to us. Removing the stigma will encourage many people to come out and talk about their mental health. It also ensures less severe cases don’t progress to dangerous levels.

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