Is there still a stigma? Should there be one?

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  1. schoolgirlforreal profile image75
    schoolgirlforrealposted 11 years ago

    Speaking with a mental health professional the other day, one that works at a respite- which is a temporary place for emotionally upset people, who have a diagnosis-- to go, whether they are homeless, or lost a loved one, etc

    He says:

    Mental illness (depression, anxiety, even bipolar or schzophrenia) should not be looked down at or thought of as the main cause for violence....

    Racism has come a long way
    and so has accepting gay lifestyles
    why not mental illness?

    The word mental illness itself seems to have a negative connotation

    Well.......he said maybe we should start teaching children from a young age about it

    Then we could elimanite most of the stigma

    ---------In reality people who suffer from depression, or anxiety as you and me, ordinary people

    for bipolar and schzohprenia it's more diffcult (unless you're talking clinical depression)
    There's a high rate for suicide for example in biiploar.
    A bipolar person has mood swings

    A schzophrenic person, or a person who experiences schzophrenia, may hear voices or be paranoid and think everyone hates them etc.


    My question is, Do you think there is still a stigma and should there be one?

    I want to mention, I see some of these people, like some of the ones with schzophrenia......a freind of mine has it and is extremely high functioning and very handsome...some of the people at the respite have it, and they are so sweet and just misunderstood

    Biploar is a difficult illness but can also be treated.

    Anyways, what are your thoughts???

    1. ngureco profile image80
      ngurecoposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Everybody seems to agree that there is stigma attached to mental illness.

      But what are we doing about?

      We should start by teaching everyone about it. Start by telling your local church to educate people about it but do not lose heart if you are told your patient is either dealing with a demon, and/or, sinful thinking.

    2. profile image57
      cwritesnowposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      There is a stigma! I work as a Peer seem, at first, very reluctant to discuss what is bothering them so I think there is a stigma attached to mental illness that is prevalent among males. Many men were taught; with regard to their mental illness; to "suck it up" and "deal with it" and that "talking about it was for wimps."

      Luckily, I am able to help break down those barriers with my consumers but that stigma still exists.

      Additionally, there are many without mental illness that, when they hear "mental illness," Immediately think of that crazy guy you sometimes see on the news who "goes nuts" and pulls a gun on people - and transpose that label on to almost anyone who has a "mental illness."

      1. schoolgirlforreal profile image75
        schoolgirlforrealposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I understand what you're saying! And I agree with you.

        That's great that you're a peer specialist!

        I am hoping to be one myself, eventually

        1. profile image57
          cwritesnowposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          I'm pleasantly surprised to know that you know what we do.

          Why would you like to become one "eventually" and not now? What's standing in the way?

  2. profile image0
    Motown2Chitownposted 11 years ago

    There is absolutely still a stigma attached to mental illness, but I see it slipping away gradually as more and more of us who suffer from it are open and honest about what's happening with us.  It helps also that we who suffer from it are no longer 'sent away' for treatment, but rather empowered to truly take a role in our recovery, with the help of not only mental health professionals, but our friends and family as well.

    Mental health treatment has come so far in treating us as individuals who are capable of not only caring for ourselves, but also of participating actively in our treatment.  There are also so many avenues available to educate oneself about different types of mental illness and to share what we've learned with others in a safe, comfortable setting.

    So, yeah, there's still the stigma - folks who are pretty far gone are still labeled 'crazy' or 'loony,' and made fun of.  But the more we educate ourselves and share what we've learned with others, the more our supporters (treatment providers, friends, and family).

  3. recommend1 profile image60
    recommend1posted 11 years ago

    I employed a guy who was bipolar - who was funny, good at most things but then would break down and not come to work for a week or so.  When I made provision for this I asked him if there were any warning signs that would help us to know when he was going to be taking a week off -  he told me that it usually started with him getting arrested for no reason except that the local police had taken a dislike to him during an episode when he was violent some years before, coupled with his everyday attitude and manner.  Over a couple of years I found this to be true and the police were the worst perpetrators of racism and anti-gay behaviour. 
    But then that is Wales for you.

    1. TripleAMom profile image76
      TripleAMomposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I applaud you for working with this man instead of giving up on him.  Most people would.

    2. schoolgirlforreal profile image75
      schoolgirlforrealposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I've heard of people sharing their illness with their employers, and it seems to work, usually after they've known them for a bit, so it works well for them.
      Good for you smile

  4. SomewayOuttaHere profile image60
    SomewayOuttaHereposted 11 years ago

    yes, there still is a stigma...there shouldn't be; however i believe it is there because many do not understand the illnesses/ is key...

  5. AshtonFirefly profile image69
    AshtonFireflyposted 11 years ago

    There is definitely a stigma. And no, there shouldn't be one.

    My boyfriend is "bipolar." He unfortunately has had a label and stigma attached to him all his life. I do not envy him for it.

    People seem to see mental "disorders" in a much different light than they should. To me, mental illness is no more different than a physical illness. The reason it freaks people out more is because it leaves more noticeable "symptoms," if you will, particularly those illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. You can't necessarily tell a person has heart disease, but you can tell if they're hallucinating.

    Such people always have a negative stigma and are viewed as the "crazy," "abnormal" ones. The ones to be avoided. This is highly unfortunate.

    1. schoolgirlforreal profile image75
      schoolgirlforrealposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, I have met many unfortunate ones who have schzophrenia who are sort of "lost" but they are very sweet. They are good people smile One man I recently met thinks all his neighbors hate him, but he realizes that's part of his illness. To me he was very mild mannered. It was nice to share time with him.

  6. profile image0
    lambservantposted 11 years ago

    Yes, there is still a stigma, no of course it should not be. The word stigma in the dictionary is "a mark of disgrace." Certainly that does not apply. I think the road to de-stigmatizing mental illness is, and will continue to be, a slow, gradual one. We who understand need to continue to educate people one on one or to groups. I would tell consumers to encourage friends and loved ones who are educated to do so to others.

    Unfortunately, these things take time.

    1. schoolgirlforreal profile image75
      schoolgirlforrealposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Good point!

    2. schoolgirlforreal profile image75
      schoolgirlforrealposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      It's better to applaud people for seeking help than down them.

  7. gsidley profile image71
    gsidleyposted 11 years ago

    There is still stigma associated with mental health problems; I think it is lessening, but at a painfully slow rate.

    A couple of points that might be of interest:
    1. Recent research suggests that there are different types of stigma, and one of the most prominent is "self-stigma" where the person with mental health problems actually absorbs society's view of these problems and views himself as defective, worthless, weird etc.

    2. As most posters have said, education is the key to reducing stigma. But (and here's the rub) it depends what we teach. Most public education programmes delivered by psychiatric professionals are skewed towards explaining mental illness in overly biological terms (biochemical imbalance, brain diseases etc) despite it having been shown that when people view mental health problems in this way they tend to be more rejecting/fearful. In other words, such "educational" programmes are likely to increase stigma rather than reduce it.

    As another poster (Motown) said, an effective way of reducing stigma is to encourage more and more service users to become actively involved both in their own recovery journey and in shaping future mental health services (i.e. teaching psychiatric professionals, being active on groups planning  mental health services, being involved in staff selection).

    1. schoolgirlforreal profile image75
      schoolgirlforrealposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      There's a huge rise recently is peer specialist where people who have illnesses who have recovered well share with peers and others. This seems to be a very good move also, because who would understand better than they would?

      I agree with you, that people should not feel stigmatized and look towards building self esteem, etc.

      I think focusing on their talents and such is a good thing....

  8. avallee profile image61
    avalleeposted 11 years ago

    If you take away the word illness then that becomes an acceptable term but when you add the word mental that's when the judging and stigma comes into play. Talk to me and treat me like a person even though I have mental issues that need to be resolved. Don't use words I don't understand; therefore, keeping me dependent on you. I need space just like you and I have feelings just like you.

    1. schoolgirlforreal profile image75
      schoolgirlforrealposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, I hate the word "mental illness" I think it should be turned into a different word.

  9. DanaTeresa profile image75
    DanaTeresaposted 11 years ago

    There is absolutely a stigma, and there absolutely should not be. It does such a disserve to those who suffer and to the world in general. I think if there no stigma, more people wouild get the help they need. And more people would be accepting and accomodating of people with mental illness, just as they are of those with other illnesses.
    I had no idea how  prevalent the stigma was until I was diagnosed with mental illess (primarily Bipolar and ADD) For Example: I was at urgent care one day for a physical health problem and I was listing my medications for the nurse. As soo an I said Tegretol she says (in a sort of shocked tone) "Tegretol, Are you bipolar?!" For one thing, it it prescribed for other things. And it is none of her business because it had no relation to my reason for the visit That was the only med or condition she had anything to say about. Now whenever I see a doctor and they look at my medications I wonder if they are judging me in an unprofessional way for being mentally ill. It is not a good feeling.

    1. schoolgirlforreal profile image75
      schoolgirlforrealposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Recently someone on facebook posted something like "don't you hate when you have an illness people can't see and you have no reason to feel sorry for yourself cause you can't "prove" it?"
      I thought to myself (and they were referring to muscle pain--a lot of people on fb post supportive things about certain illness like muscular distrophy or things like fibromyalgia--
      wow, that's the story of my life LOL. I struggle with the illness like it's a physical one, and it's very painful.
      I do feel the more support one gets from family friends, etc the better they feel. Most I've met who have that support feel better about themselves...etc.

      A lot of people who don't get help but suffer like to down the ones who got help by using labels to make (themselves) feel better hmm

      It's not pleasant to focus on the thing constantly. Thanks for your input everyone.

      Yeah, sometimes I think of not telling them the meds I'm on. They would treat you better.

      I live a fairly good life, so I don't need people to look down on me or even feel sorry for me. I want to work, etc. Too often people think that  if you're sick you want to be on social security and suck off the system which does happen quite a bit, but not always, there are so many who want to feel and be productive but the govt makes it very hard and almost sets people up for failure because the 9 month trial work period where you can work for up to 9 mo earning as much as possible and  not be penalized ----is only one time I hear, and once you've used it up--it's up.
      This makes it very hard for those who want to work, many, who find it hard to get the job they want like even as a peer specialist, because they need part time or they will lost their health benefits, and if they want to get off social security for good, which is very often the case, it's so risky because they need (time) to make sure they'll be okay with the full time.

      I worked full time back in 2000 for the US Postal Service and I felt really good about it , and I loved the job. Unfortunately it ended --the position was done away with and I was a TE- temporary employee, was laid off, didn't get the chance to stay with the P.O. i would have stayed for 5 years at least I thought. it was a suitable job for me.
      I would love to be independent of (social security) it would be a great feeling.

      1. AshtonFirefly profile image69
        AshtonFireflyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I would just like to say that I applaud your good attitude.
        So many people want to use the issue they are struggling with as a crutch and, as you say, just "suck off the system," using the issue as a way to get pity and to feel sorry for themselves.
        Your determination to rise above what you are struggling with and be productive is very admirable to me.

        1. schoolgirlforreal profile image75
          schoolgirlforrealposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Thank you very much!
          I've gotten a lot of flack over the years from family who don't want to think there is any illness in their family , and it stinks to not have their support, but these days I just (pick my friends)(who are much more understanding and supportive!!)

  10. DanaTeresa profile image75
    DanaTeresaposted 11 years ago

    schoolgirlforreal -Good for you! I like your attitude. It really is a shame that some people aren't supportive. I wonder sometimes if those same people would act that way if you had cancer.... I am struggling to work a full time office job right now. And I am doing well because my supervisor is very uinderstanding and she gives me a lot of leeway as far as projects and my sheculde. But it is a temp position and I don't know what I will do when it ends! I am hoping I can get by on part time. It is such an odd predicament to be in, isnt it?
    Wishing you lots of love, support, strength, and success!

    1. schoolgirlforreal profile image75
      schoolgirlforrealposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks dear!

      I am going on a job interview tomorrow evening for a part time postiion which pays pretty well, and it seems like the perfect job! Will let you know how it goes- yeah I know what you mean, you need to keep busy!!

      Good luck! Gotta keep that income coming in!
      These are some flowers my mom gave me today wink she's so sweet

      Have a good nite!

  11. DanaTeresa profile image75
    DanaTeresaposted 11 years ago

    Best Wishes for a great interview. Hope you get the job. You are an inspiration to girls like me just learning to figure things out. Thank you for sharing!... beautiful flowers, awesome vase too!

    1. schoolgirlforreal profile image75
      schoolgirlforrealposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I have a job now. part time. thanks for the wishes. best to you.

  12. Jenna Pope profile image60
    Jenna Popeposted 11 years ago

    It's amazing how many people "diagnose" mental illness that aren't doctors. I was a mental health professional and always hated the prejudice against mental illness. Instead of putting money into gun control, we need to invest in our nation's mental health.

    1. schoolgirlforreal profile image75
      schoolgirlforrealposted 11 years agoin reply to this


  13. WryLilt profile image89
    WryLiltposted 11 years ago

    There should be a stigma against people who are disgnosed, are known to be violent when manic, and refuse medication.

    1. AshtonFirefly profile image69
      AshtonFireflyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      What would be the purpose of that stigma? Why should there be one?

      1. WryLilt profile image89
        WryLiltposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Because I ended up with a tracheostomy tube in my throat for eleven years because of one.

        If someone is violent and sane they end up in jail. If they're violent and mentally ill there is nothing to stop them doing it again.

        1. AshtonFirefly profile image69
          AshtonFireflyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Fair enough.
          What about those who are not violent but are mentally ill in some way?

          1. WryLilt profile image89
            WryLiltposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            No, there should not be a stigma against them. If people are willing to get help, then that's great.

            If you can't help yourself, why should I? Even if helping yourself simply means ASKING for help.

        2. schoolgirlforreal profile image75
          schoolgirlforrealposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          If they're violent and mentally ill, they usually end up in a place like bridgewater state hosp for life.

          1. WryLilt profile image89
            WryLiltposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            My mum didn't. I don't know how different Australia is but they keep drugging her up then releasing her.

            1. schoolgirlforreal profile image75
              schoolgirlforrealposted 11 years agoin reply to this

              Oh, that's too bad ( in all sincerity). I heard of many people here, well one person I met thru someone who was locked up for life and then of course bridgewater state hosp for the criminally insane. Its too bad that happened/happens over there. Massachusetts seems to be on top of things mental health wise

  14. DanaTeresa profile image75
    DanaTeresaposted 11 years ago

    Jenna Pope - I agree 100%. I am happy to say that New York State has Timothy's Law that requires equal attention be given by insurance to mental health. But I was very dissapointed to find out it does not apply to the State's low cost Healthy New York plan. Maybe someday.

    WryLilt - I do not think a Stigma is what is needed here. I think proper education, treatment, management, and caution should be taken. Those that are a danger to others are much less common cases. Would you take them off the street? Ostracize them? Force medication? Would you do the same to those with STDs that are having sex? Or those walkign around with the flu that could spread it to the elderly or children? There are a lot of practical and ethical issues and varying opinions on how to manage things like this. I do not think a stigma should be among them.

  15. schoolgirlforreal profile image75
    schoolgirlforrealposted 11 years ago

    I'm sick of people who are mentally ill and untreated think they're better because they are not "labeled"

    What's better, becoming an alcoholic or taking a pill?

    Either one will take a toll on your body, which is worse I don't know.

    In many cases, people are diagnosed too quickly without getting support, empathy, love, and talk therapy.

    Talk therapy is how you work out past trauma/issues which cause anxiety, and other problems.

    Pills I don't know how they help, but being on them for life and being told you are "permanently disabled" is like a death sentence.

    It's a lie too in many cases.

    I think the rise in pill prescribing is another way for the government to try to control people. That is the goal right?

  16. Xenonlit profile image60
    Xenonlitposted 11 years ago

    There has been a lot of education, and there are a lot of mentally ill people, so that most people know someone who has an identified condition. In fact, almost everyone has a mental illness these days, even if it is a stress disorder.

    Schoolgirlfor real said it:

    "I'm sick of people who are mentally ill and untreated think they're better because they are not "labeled"

    1. schoolgirlforreal profile image75
      schoolgirlforrealposted 11 years agoin reply to this


    2. gsidley profile image71
      gsidleyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      As suggested in my earlier post, whether education is helpful in the area of mental health problems depends upon what is being taught. Identifying increasing numbers of people with mental "conditions," with a biological cause being implied or openly stated as if established fact, is misleading and often unhelpful.

      1. schoolgirlforreal profile image75
        schoolgirlforrealposted 11 years agoin reply to this


  17. profile image57
    cwritesnowposted 8 years ago

    No Stigma!

    For the past year and six months, I have worked as a Peer Specialist.

    I have a trainer who suffered (and still deals with)schizophrenia which led to debilitating condition(s) in his early 40s - hearing voices, stigma, being discriminated against by the legal system - the whole bit.

    Now in his late 40s or early 50s, he has recovered to where he is training peer specialists and is wildly successful. He has a beautiful girlfriend of 31 years and a baby with her - and is a great guy.

    This guy holds down a full time job and travels as well as spends time helping others when he can. Though still suffering from the effects of the disease and of the meds that he had been forced to take, he leads a very normal life and totally kicks ass. He exercises, keeps up with his responsibilities at work, and tends extraordinarily well to his family and friends.

    In short, this guy is a model.

    Most people with schizophrenia are actually quite isolated, preferring to keep to themselves. This type of illness does NOT lead people to commit crimes or to do horrible things.

    In my job, I have worked with people who either a) suffer with the disease or b) had suffered with it in the past; and let me tell you, these people would not hurt a fly.


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