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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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If we could significantly reduce the stigma of mental illness

Resolved Question:

If we could significantly reduce the stigma of mental illness in the USA, would that improve life for people who do not personally have mental illness? If so how?
Also, what causes stigma - what causes people to feel and express negative moral judgements about people who have a mental illness?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


First, the lack of a social stigma regarding mental health would significantly help the aging population because at this point, only 10 percent seek help because of stigma. It would also impact those people with more functional based depressions and mood disturbances because many of these people do not seek help because of the stigma.


If there was no stigma, the general population would be more likely to recognize mental illness when they see others with it and be more willing to assist them in getting help. Also, if they develop a mental illness themselves, they would be more willing to seek help.


If mental illness was recognized as legitimate, the education of the general population about the causes, symptoms and treatment would be more well known. Also, funding for treatment would be improved greatly, increasing the quality of care for those with mental illness. Therapists and others in the mental health field would also receive better funding as would the facilities that help those with a diagnosis. This would improve treatment greatly.


Without stigma, families would not experience the shame of social stigma and would gain more support, financially and emotionally which would not only improve their situation but that of the diagnosed person as well.


People create stigmas around things they do not understand. They also do so regarding things they fear. Mental health, because of misinformation such as frightening headlines in the news, causes people to fear that those with a diagnosis are dangerous and out of control. And because of the lack of legitimate information, fear is easy to propagate. It becomes a cycle that is hard to break.


I hope this helped you,


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