It is no secret that there is a significant amount of stigma surrounding mental illness. Mental health disorders such as schizophrenia that are not generally understood by modern society are especially at risk of facing prejudice, discrimination, and stigmatization. This can impact those struggling with the disorder, especially in terms of seeking help. They don’t want to seem weak, weird, or “crazy,” so many people try to cope with symptoms on their own, which can cause more problems.
Through understanding the impact of stigmatization on those with schizophrenia, people are more likely to treat these individuals with kindness and reach a place of understanding.
Where Does Stigma Come From?
Stigma stems from a lack of understanding or fear often perpetuated by misinformation within general society. The media can play a significant role in stigma, especially in portraying specific issues to a broader audience. There are different types of stigma defined by the National Institutes of Health, such as public stigma and self-stigma.
Public stigma stems from a negative belief about a group, such as weakness, incompetence, or dangerousness. On the other hand, self-stigma results from a negative belief about oneself, such as one’s own incompetence or character weakness. Both types of stigma can result in prejudice and discrimination, which can have a negative impact on the affected group.
Schizophrenia and Stigma
The stigma surrounding schizophrenia has been occurring for years. Less than a hundred years ago, individuals with schizophrenia were often committed to institutions because they were believed to be a danger to the general public. Nowadays, this specific action does not occur, but other events perpetuate the stigma of schizophrenia. Often when the disorder is portrayed on the news, it is connected with a violent crime such as homicide. This causes the general public to exaggerate and stereotype those with schizophrenia as dangerous individuals who need to be locked away as they once were in the 20th century.
Impact on Those Struggling
When individuals who are already struggling with symptoms of mental illness face stigmas associated with their mental illness, their symptoms can often worsen over time. Those around them often exclude them due to discrimination and prejudices held against them, which can negatively impact their overall mental health. Stigma also reduces the chance of someone seeking treatment because they don’t want to be mistreated by more people. They may worry that they will be labeled as crazy, weak, or dangerous because of their mental illness, so they put off seeking treatment. This can lead to further issues and reduced hope of ever finding healing. The effects are why stigmas need to be addressed, mental health education needs to be widespread, and more resources need to be given to those struggling.
Stigmatization of schizophrenia is nothing new, but it is more widely discussed in modern discourse. However, stigmas are still perpetuated by the media and the general public. This can profoundly affect individuals struggling with schizophrenia, making them less likely to seek help. This is why Alta Loma Transformational Services wants to shine a light on mental health stigma and reach those that are struggling by informing them about our healing programs. Through a variety of treatment modalities used to help men struggling with addiction and mental health disorders, you can be sure to find healing at Alta Loma. Call us at (866) 457-3843.