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Stigma among Mentally Challenged Individuals

Describe common perceptions and misconceptions about this group

The society has varying views regarding persons with mental disabilities. In most cases, these views are due to the stereotypes in different communities.

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Owing to rejection and neglect by the community, the mentally challenged persons often undergo stigmatization, which leads to low self-esteem. Numerous perceptions and misconceptions are associated with mental illness even though various scholars have settled on the two misconceptions, which include incompetence and dependency.


Most people often view mentally challenged persons as incompetent individuals who lack the ability to make credible decisions when faced with various situations. Under this purview of misconceptions, the mentally challenged persons are viewed as individuals with childish behaviors, who deviate from the social norms set by the society (Angermeyer & Dietrich, 2006).

Consequently, the society excludes this group of people from major communal activities. This move denies such people the opportunity to obtain cognitive skills, which are acquirable through interaction with people from different backgrounds.


The other misconception is that persons with disabilities are incapable of accomplishing various household tasks. Therefore, they can only rely on other people to have the tasks done. Additionally, most people attribute mental disability to dumbness and poor understanding, hence dependency.

The society views the mentally challenged persons as sick individuals who need special care and treatment to reduce the symptoms or cure the illness. This perception causes people to believe that the group is overly dependent on family members and other caregivers for their basic needs.

How the reading on cross-cultural competence helps in relating well with this group

Cross-cultural competencies are important since they allow one to interact and relate well with the mentally challenged individuals. Some of the most relevant competencies that I have learned from the cross-cultural reading include

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Cultural difference awareness

Throughout the reading, I acquired knowledge of the cultural differences and perceptions by different communities about the mentally challenged individuals. The knowledge of the stereotypes in different cultures regarding mental illness is essential since it helps one establish the actual cause of stigma among such people in a specific community (Angermeyer & Dietrich, 2006).

Moreover, it helps eliminate self-biases when dealing with mentally challenged persons since most stereotypes are untrue due to traditional assumptions and stereotypes. The reading changed my personal and professional definition of normality-abnormality after recognizing the falsity of the common stereotypes that exist in different cultures.

Awareness of Clients Worldview

The reading on cross-cultural competencies emphasizes the need to understand the clients’ worldview. This assertion hinges on the view that the mentally challenged individuals are often prone to seclusion, which leads to low self-esteem. Understanding the clients’ worldview will help fight personal bias when dealing with the mentally challenged persons. This skill will help me when dealing with the mentioned group since I will tend to penetrate the clients’ world and view life from their perspective.

How the cross-cultural competence affects how I would evaluate clients or programs?

Cultural difference awareness

Perceptions regarding these groups vary from one community to another. Therefore, an understanding of the various misconceptions by different racial groups may help design client-specific programs based on the stereotypes evident in the culture in question.

If I were a program designer, I would design programs based on the individual needs by the clients hailing from different cultural and racial backgrounds. My evaluation would be based on research concerning the perceptions and misconceptions that weaken the relationship between the community and the mentally challenged groups.

Awareness of Clients Worldview

Most mentally challenged individuals live in their world, which is different from that of the normal persons. Research indicates that mentally challenged persons often have low self-esteem due to segregation and neglect by other members of the society (Royse, Thyer, & Padgett, 2010). Having an understanding of the clients’ worldview may help in designing an appropriate program that aims at addressing the specific issues affecting individuals from a certain culture.


Angermeyer, C., & Dietrich, S. (2006). Public beliefs about and attitudes towards people with mental illness: a review of population studies. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 113(3), 163-179.

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Royse, D., Thyer, B., & Padgett, D. (2010). Program Evaluation: An Introduction to an Evidence-Based Approach. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

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