What is the Stigma of Mental Illness?

Team Health Cages

Updated on:

stigma mental illness

What is stigma?

Stigma is when someone sees you in a bad way because of something about you, like your skin color, culture, disability, or mental illness. Discrimination is when someone treats you unfairly because of your mental illness.

Stigma happens when people only see you as your illness and not as a person. For instance, they might call you ‘psychotic’ instead of ‘a person experiencing psychosis.’

If you have mental health issues, the social stigma and discrimination can make your problems worse, and it becomes harder to get better. People might avoid getting the help they need because they are afraid of being treated badly.

Types of Stigma

  • Thinking bad things about yourself inside
  • Being alone and not talking to others
  • Feeling bad about yourself
  • Feeling like there’s no hope
  • Feeling embarrassed and bad about yourself
  • Not getting the help you need
  • Making your problems worse
  • Not being treated fairly by the law
  • Being treated unfairly at work
  • Not having a job

What is mental illness stigma?

When it comes to mental illness, stigma means that someone is labeled or looked down upon, being seen as less than a whole person and more like a stereotype or just a bunch of symptoms, like being called ‘psychotic.’

The word “stigma” itself means a mark, a stain, or a blemish.

People who have mental illness might have to deal with stigma, which is when others see them in a bad way, treat them differently, and make them feel ashamed or like they’re not as good as everyone else. Stigma can even lead to unfair treatment, where they’re treated unfairly, and this can make mental illness even harder to deal with.

Imagine it as having a mark on you that makes people treat you poorly, and it can make things tougher for those going through mental health challenges. All of us need to understand this, so we can work towards a more supportive and understanding community for everyone.

Dealing with stigma
  • Get Help
  • Learn More
  • Fix Mistakes
  • Show the Way
  • Share Your Story
  • Lead by Example
  • Use Good Words
  • Support Talking
  • Spread Knowledge
  • Speak Up for Change
Why does stigma exist?

Stigma happens for a few reasons, mostly because people don’t know enough about mental health. Some folks still believe wrong ideas and stereotypes because they don’t understand, and they might be scared of what they don’t know. Cultural and historical beliefs, as well as how the media talks about mental health, also play a part in keeping these negative attitudes alive. Discrimination, both from individuals and large groups like schools or companies, makes the stigma stronger, making it harder for people with mental health struggles.

In the past, people with mental health issues were treated badly, like being kept away in institutions or left all alone. This treatment has stuck around in people’s minds. Mental health conditions can be unpredictable, and that can make others feel uneasy, adding to the stigma. The words we use to talk about mental health also matter. If the words are hurtful, it makes things worse.

To make things better, we need to challenge these old ideas, share the right information, and try to understand each other. Getting rid of stereotypes and unfair treatment will help create a kinder and more helpful community for people facing mental health challenges.