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The Role of Social Stigma in Mental Health

The stigmatization of mental health, indeed, plays a significant role in the life of a person suffering from mental disorders. First, stigmatization affects how a person identifies their psychological disorder. Second, the stigma affects whether a person eventually seeks help from specialists to receive treatment. To understand the extent to which stigmatization affects these two factors, it is important to understand what stigma is and how it manifests itself in society. First, label avoidance refers to a person’s decision not to disclose or accept their mental deviations (Stolzenburg et al., 2017). Fearing the judgment of society, friends, and family, a person often refuses to admit the existence of problems and does not seek help.

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Social stigma refers to the disapproval of society based on generally accepted social characteristics that distinguish a person from the rest of society. Thus, a person suffering from mental illnesses considers himself/herself different from other people and deliberately opposes himself/herself to them (Stolzenburg et al., 2017). To accept the help of specialists, a person should confront their problems and, perhaps, tell their relatives and friends about them. Social stigmatization of mental health leads to the fact that a person is afraid to take even the first step. Social stigma also leads to the fact that a person does not trust their loved ones due to the fear of condemnation and disapproval. Thus, the stigmatization of mental health leads to the fact that a person is not able to independently recognize the presence of symptoms of mental illness. Non-recognition leads to the fact that further appeal for help and treatment is impossible. Thus, the reluctance of a person to seek treatment is highly associated with the stigmatization of psychological disorders in society.

Reference

Stolzenburg, S., Freitag, S., Evans-Lacko, S., Muehlan, H., Schmidt, S., & Schomerus, G. (2017). The stigma of mental illness as a barrier to self labeling as having a mental illness. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 205(12), 903-909. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000756

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