Awareness Self Help

Addressing Mental Health Stigma and Its Impact on Society

Mental Health is the most concerned and talked about issue in today’s world. People are aware of their mental health and take measures to improve it. But society was not always like this, where people accept some things. Most of them see it in a bad way. Many people with mental health diseases are seen as doubly and always challenged.

On one hand, People suffer from symptoms of mental health problems and on the other side, they struggle with misconceptions, stigma and discrimination. Both of these together come and lead to problems in a person’s life and also lead to loss of opportunity. It should always be taken care of that people who are not mentally well, are not the challenged ones. They should be given treatment and seen as the same as the common man.

Read More: Discussing Discrimination Through Mental Health Lens

The stigma around mental health is a complex issue that is deeply rooted in the cultural, social and historical context. Earlier, people with mental disorders were characterized by problems related to supernatural forces and witchcraft. However, with the development of psychology and increased knowledge in the field, people began to understand mental health problems more accurately.


Negative Impact of Stigma

  • Social Isolation: Social isolation is the term where people are used to little or no interaction with other beings. This leads to many disorders related to loneliness and feelings of unworthiness. People with stigma often feel embarrassed to tell their problems to others and keep everything inside them, which leads to social withdrawal and loneliness. They think that people will see them as different which will make them feel worse about themselves.
  • Impact On Self-Esteem: Stigmatizing attitudes towards mental health may impact the individual’s self-esteem. It can lead to lower self-confidence and self-worth, making the road towards recovery even more challenging. This may also increase the intensity of symptoms, which earlier were slowed down. As a consequence, It makes that person even more distressed about his or her situation. Low self-esteem can make a person think negatively and criticise themselves even more.
  • Barriers To Seeking Help: Stigma is a term used in the field of psychology and therapy when a person refuses to seek help or treatment while struggling with mental health disorders or the family and near and dear ones won’t believe that they need help. This is because they may have a feeling of being judged based on their emotions. This can lead to delayed and worsening symptoms. People may want to open up but it’s the Stigma that makes them hold onto their feelings.

Read More: Does mental illness affect economic development? 

  • Employment And Educational Differences: Employment and Education are two main important domains to live a sustained life. Research proves that employers prefer sharp-minded and overall fit individuals for better job opportunities and fields. Stigma can create discrimination in the field of employment and education leading to job loss, difficulty securing employment and academic barriers. Some parents whose children are suffering from some kind of mental health disorder hide that only to get a secured admission to a well-known school.
  • Stigma Around Men’s Mental Health: It is always seen that men’s mental health is not always prioritized first. They represent the strong individuals in our society and serve as the family’s advisors. Many campaigns have recently shed light on men’s mental health, addressing the long-standing neglect of their mental well-being. These beings are the ones struggling the most because they pile up their feelings and emotions and never share or discuss their problem with anyone. They are also the financial support in many Indian families and therefore to have a stable career path they don’t show their feelings and symptoms so that their employment remains intact.

Read More: Youth Employment in the UK Held Back by Mental Health Issues

How to Address Stigma

  • No Shame Should Be There: People should not feel ashamed of their problems; instead, they should openly address them. By doing so, they can help break down the barriers of stigma and stereotypes, allowing others who are struggling to come forward and seek support.
  • Don’t Isolate Yourself: In times of stress, isolation is not the key to coping with stigma. Reach out to near and dear ones and always have someone to talk to when feeling down or needing to share something about oneself.
  • Speak Out Against Stigma: The best way to stop something is to speak up. People should speak more on these issues on different platforms so that it creates a change in the minds of stereotypical people and changes their perceptions about mental health problems. People should make a platform to address all these issues and make a team to stop this as people with unity can make the change.
  • Promoting Health Seeking Behaviour: People should talk with their near and dear ones, their family, trusted friends etc. There should be accessibility to mental health practitioners, counsellors, helpline numbers etc to provide help during difficult times. Non-judgemental practices will encourage the people to take up the sessions.
  • Education And Awareness: The first and foremost priority to aware people of something is education. Educators should inform people about various mental health problems and teach them how to overcome and tackle stigma in day-to-day life. Promoting understanding and empathy through education can help challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about mental illness. Various campaigns and workshops should make them aware of such issues.

Read More: Debunking the Stigma: 5 Myths About Seeking Mental Health Professional Help

In conclusion, the first and foremost is to prioritize one’s mental health because if a person is fit mentally then only, they are fit physically and do good in every domain and aspect of life. People should never feel ashamed of who they are and should proudly tackle their problems, seeking treatment whenever necessary. People should first change their thinking and then the others.

References +
  • Stigma and discrimination. (n.d.). Mental Health Foundation.
  • The impact of stigma on mental health | McLean Hospital. (2023, April 30).
  • Addressing stigma. (n.d.). CAMH.
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