It is important to discuss the concept of Stigma, as this has a huge impact on how mental health is viewed. Public perception is frequently negative with regards to mental health and this has an impact on use of services. Stigma tends to view people with poor mental health as problem.
Stigma is commonly defined as “a mark of disgrace or shame” and yet is a reality for people with a mental health problem. It often has four components:
1. Labelling someone with a condition.
2. Stereotyping them
3. Creating a division – a superior us and a devalued them
4. Discrimination on the basis of their ‘label’
Most people would not dream of mocking someone with cancer, yet mental health disorders and conditions still remain fair game for ridicule and distorted beliefs.
We must work together to eradicate this stigma and show love and compassion to those affected by this illness.
Have you experienced mental health stigma? If so I'd love to hear from you.