Mental health stigma is a serious issue that can have a hugely detrimental effect on those struggling with mental health issues. Stigma can lead to a variety of negative outcomes, including lack of treatment, self-medication, and even suicide. It’s important to understand what are the 4 different types of mental health stigma so that we can work to combat it and provide a safe and supportive environment for those suffering from mental illness.
What is Mental Health Stigma?
Mental health stigma is a form of discrimination that results from negative attitudes and beliefs about mental illness. It can take many forms, from verbal abuse to social exclusion. It can also manifest itself in subtle ways, such as avoiding eye contact or choosing not to socialize with someone who has a mental health diagnosis. Stigma can lead to feelings of shame, loneliness, and isolation, all of which can be detrimental to mental health.
Types of Mental Health Stigma
Mental health stigma can be divided into four distinct categories:
- Personal stigma:
- This is when an individual has a negative attitude or belief about mental illness. Personal stigma can be caused by a lack of knowledge or understanding about mental health, or by the individual’s own experiences with mental illness.
- Perceived stigma:
- This is when an individual believes that others have negative attitudes or beliefs about mental illness, even if they don’t. This can lead to fear of how others will react to their mental health diagnosis and can make them less likely to seek help.
- Structural stigma:
- This is a form of discrimination that is built into the systems and structures of society. Structural stigma can manifest itself in the form of inadequate access to mental health services, or the lack of job opportunities for those with a mental illness.
- This is when an individual internalizes the negative attitudes and beliefs of society and begins to believe them about themselves. This can lead to low self-esteem, lack of motivation, and difficulty in reaching out for help.
How to Combat Mental Health Stigma
Mental health stigma can have a devastating impact on those who experience it. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to reduce stigma and create a more supportive and inclusive environment. Here are some of the things we can do to reduce mental health stigma:
- Educate yourself:
- Learn as much as you can about mental health issues and the stigma that surrounds them. This will help you to better understand the issue and be better equipped to speak out against it.
- Speak out:
- Don’t be afraid to challenge negative attitudes and beliefs when you hear them. Speak out in support of those who suffer from mental illness and promote understanding and acceptance.
- Be an advocate:
- Work to create change in your community. Raise awareness of the issue and advocate for better access to mental health services and support.
- Be supportive:
- Show your support for those who are struggling with mental illness. Let them know that you are there for them and that they are not alone.
Mental health stigma is a serious issue that can have a devastating effect on those who experience it. It’s important to recognize the different types of mental health stigma so that we can work to reduce it and create a more supportive and inclusive environment. By educating ourselves, speaking out, and being an advocate for those who suffer from mental illness, we can make a difference.