Despite the improvements in the effectiveness and quality of psychological health services and treatments, revolutions in psychiatric therapy remain incapable of minimizing stigma among mentally ill patients. Due to stigma, psychologically ill patients become victims of isolation and delayed treatments, resulting in significant economic and social burdens (Ye et al. 343). Stigma, internal or public, is often associated with patients fearing being rated as less confident, less attractive to others, and emotionally unstable. In addition, society does not accept mentally ill people since it associates them with certain physical appearances or behavior that it considers dangerous, frightening, or unacceptable (Rossler 1250). With how society characterizes these patients and the persecution of being mentally ill, the perceptions are not lost among the patients. Due to this, sick psychological patients hide from or avoid seeking professional help as their first option to minimize the adverse outcomes linked to stigmatization.
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For individuals suffering from psychological problems, stigma presents several consequences to their health. First, as already established, stigmatization results in patients hiding from or avoiding treatment as a way of reducing the adverse outcomes associated with stigma. Due to the avoidance, the health status of the patients continues to depreciate (Rossler 1251) gradually. Further, another impact of stigmatization on a patient’s health outcome is an increased risk of suicide and depression. The mentioned increased risk comes from the labeling effect in the way patients interact with health care practitioners and the services offered (Ye et al. 344). The central identity that psychological patients are associated with is their interactions, and due to this, low self-esteem develops, resulting in increased depression and suicide risk.
Several measures have been established to minimize stigmatization among psychologically ill patients. For example, education is the first intervention through which stigmatization is minimized. With the help of it, mental illness stigma linked to modified stereotypes can be replaced with actual information (Rossler 1252). By employing strategies such as brochures, books, podcasts, videos, and films, the public can increase respect for psychological patients and minimize reluctance when seeking professional help. The second intervention to effectively reduce the effects of stigmatization is establishing contact with the mentally ill. With interactions between the mentally ill and the public, the existing prejudice is likely minimized. From research, experimental factors like one-on-one contact with patients are central in helping people develop friendships and discover the same interests (Rossler 1223). Personal contact is a proven measure of stigma, particularly among adolescents, and can be minimized.
The third intervention to help reduce the effect of stigmatization among psychologically ill patients is self-management. Through self-management, patients are encouraged to familiarize themselves with their condition better and move beyond experiencing the sickness as a way of finding a new form of internal motivation (Ye et al. 346). Under observation, patients who undergo emergency circumstances receive support that helps prevent embarrassing moments, while situation-related explanations help their protection. Social activism and protests highlighting discrimination against psychological problems are ways to minimize prejudice (Rossler 1253). The intervention has been known to produce an unexpected recovery effect where discrimination on specific issues remains unaffected. The last intervention against stigmatization is the use of advocacy and legislative reform. Through the approach, protection against mentally ill patients can be improved (Ye et al. 347). Moreover, the patients can receive help with employment, housing, and education.
Rossler W. The stigma of mental disorders: A millennia-long history of social exclusion and prejudices. EMBO Rep (2016) 17(9):1250–3.
Ye J, Wang C, Xiao A, Xia Z, Yu L, Lin J, et al. Physical restraint in mental health nursing: A concept analysis. Int J Nurs Sci (2019) 6(3):343–8.