MENTAL ILLNESS Stigmatized - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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mentally healthy = people with integrated personalities ... 'Words like 'crazy,' 'cuckoo,' 'psycho,' 'wacko' and 'nutso' are just a few ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: MENTAL ILLNESS Stigmatized

Defining Mental Illness
  • some psychiatrists argue that mental illness are
    concrete, real, and objective
  • mentally healthy people with integrated
  • objectivists define mental illness as behaviour
    that exceeds community tolerance and is
    inappropriate to the circumstances
  • relativists argue that mental illness does not
    exist because culturally relative and abstract

Perspectives on Mental Disorder
  • physiologists and physicians investigate and
    treat genetic, anatomical, and chemical origins
    of mental distress
  • psychologists and psychiatrists see mental
    illness as an intra-psychic problem, the
    origins of which can be located in childhood when
    the personality is being formed
  • some sociologists focus on structural factors
    involved in the production of stress while others
    focus on the labelling process and the negative
    impacts of social stigma

Sociological Theories of Mental Illness
  • The Medical Model
  • The medical model of mental illness is the idea
    that mental disorders are symptoms of psychic
    disturbances that have medically treatable
  • Conflict and Anomie Interpretations
  • Conflict approaches focus on the importance of
    work in the lives of individuals
  • Mertons theory of anomie addresses the
    relationship between low socioeconomic status and
    mental disorders
  • Symbolic Interactionist and Labelling
  • When people violate fundamental rules that fall
    into the category of natural behaviour, they run
    the risk of being designated by onlookers as
    unnatural or ill
  • The designation of residual rule violation as a
    mental disorder is affected by a series of

Classifications of Mental Illness
  • Disorders first evident in infants, children, and
  • Mental retardation, various learning and
    communication disorders
  • Delirium, dementia, and amnestic an other
    cognitive disorders
  • Substance related disorders
  • Schizophrenic disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Anti-social personality disorders (psychopathy or
  • Mood disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Somatoform disorder
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Sexual and gender identity disorders
  • psycho-sexual dysfunction
  • Sadists and masochists
  • Eating disorders
  • Disorders of impulse control

The Demographic Distribution of Mental Disorders
  • Sex
  • women, since the end of WWII, are more
    susceptible than men to mental disorder
  • Marital Status
  • being single increases the chances of mental
  • Geographic Mobility
  • tendency for foreign born people to be
    over-represented among mentally ill
  • Rural-Urban Residence
  • rates of mental illness appear to be marginally
    higher in urban than in rural settings
  • Age
  • chances of being treated for mental disorder
    increase with age
  • Social Class
  • Interest in the importance of social class in the
    development of mental illness

The Experience of Treatment
  • 2 primary expectations placed upon caregivers
  • Treatment
  • Control (often takes precedence over
  • In the 1960s, mental institutions were total
    institutions (Goffman)
  • For many, the experience of being cut off from
    the outside world for prolonged periods creates
    dependency syndrome
  • Hierarchy of authority psychiatrists,
    psychologists/social workers, nurses, ward aides
  • Mental hospitals have some advantages
  • Some mental hospitals have employed inhumane
    practices such as isolation and electro-shock as
    punishments rather than treatments

  • Long hospital stays encourage dependency, which
    increases the likelihood of re-admission
  • Patients often must demonstrate that they are
  • Positive attitudes on the part of the patients
    family important to the release of a patient
  • Difficult to avoid relapse on the outside
  • Ex-patients need somewhere to go and something to
  • Having a job important, especially if the work is
    meaningful, boosts self-esteem, and puts the
    patient into contact with healthy others

Myths of Mental Illness
  • People with mental illness are violent and
  • People with mental illness are poor and/or less
  • Mental illness is caused by a personal weakness
  • Mental illness is a single, rare disorder

  • the process by which the public, or an individual
    themselves, labels human differences, ascribes
    meaning to these differences through stereotypes,
    which in turn denies life opportunities to those
    labeled through the exertion of power

Signals ? Stereotypes ? Discrimination
  • Signals (skill deficit, appearance, labels,
    psychiatric symptoms)
  • That person talking to himself on the park bench
    must be crazy
  • Signals lead to stereotypes
  • Crazy people are dangerous
  • Stereotypes lead to discrimination
  • Im not going to allow crazy people like that to
    move into my neighborhood
  • But

Public Stigma vs. Self Stigma
  • Public Stigma
  • Stereotype Negative belief about a group
    (dangerousness, incompetence, character weakness)
  • Prejudice Agreement with belief and/or negative
    emotional reaction (fear or anger)
  • Discrimination Behavior response to prejudice
    (work or housing opportunities withheld)
  • Self Stigma
  • Stereotype Negative belief about the self
    (character weakness, incompetence)
  • Prejudice Agreement with belief and/or negative
    emotional reaction (low self-esteem, low self-
  • Discrimination Behavior response to prejudice
    (fails to pursue goals)

Impact of Self Stigma
  • a person may experience diminished self esteem,
    self efficacy, and confidence.
  • Kathleen Gallo
  • I perceived myself, quite accurately, as having
    a serious mental illness and therefore as having
    been relegated to what I called the social
    garbage heap...

Reactions to Self Stigma
  • Develop the negative stereotype through
  • Believe they will be rejected and devalued ?
    withdraw from connections and opportunities
  • Avoidance behavior viewed as socially awkward ?
    communication less frequent
  • Anticipation of rejection

Reactions to Self Stigma
  • Oppose the societal beliefs and positive
    self-perceptions emerge (energized by the stigma
    to righteous anger)
  • Lash out in anger and do not give into these
    beliefs by acting against them or resisting the
    ideas and treatment

Public Stigma
  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Health
  • Criminal Justice System
  • Education
  • Insurance
  • Child Welfare System

Impact of Public Stigma Employment
  • Less than 15 of people with serious and
    persistent mental illness are employed
  • Unemployment rates are 3-5 higher
  • fulfills an essential contribution to personal
    satisfaction, health, and well-being
  • Employment is therapeutic and can reduce the
    symptoms of mental illness

Impact of Public Stigma Housing
  • Often in low income with substandard housing and
    high crime rates due to lack of income
  • Compete with other low income applicants that are
    considered more suitable
  • People with serious mental illness often lack the
    social and coping skills to obtain permanent and
    adequate employment and housing, however, stigmas
    attached to the mentally ill inflate this

Stigma Interacts with the Criminal Justice System
  • If an officer sees a mentally ill person showing
    signs of psychosis they are more likely to arrest
    them if they have committed a crime.
  • Officers are less likely to believe and help a
    victim of crime.
  • Often when someone whom is mentally ill tries to
    assist police officers by giving a statement of a
    crime it will often be disregarded due to the
    officers perception of them.

Fighting Stigma
  • Use respectful language
  • Provide professional development opportunities
    for staff regarding diversity, mental health
    issues, and fostering an inclusive work
  • Become an advocate
  • Teach others about mental illness

Coping with Stigma
  • Get appropriate treatment
  • Surround yourself with supportive people
  • Make your expectations known
  • Dont equate yourself with your illness
  • Share your own experiences
  • Monitor the media
  • Join an advocacy group

Changing public stigma
  • Incompetent. Crazy. Irresponsible. Dangerous.
    Psycho. Unpredictable.
  • At fault for their illness. Unlikely to recover.
    Looney. Dumb. Awkward.
  • Crazed Killers. Rebellious.

Strategies for Change
  • 1) Protest
  • shame on you for holding disrespectful ideas
    about mental illness
  • StigmaBusters ? organization looking into public
    media discrimination against people with mental
  • Rebound effect ? dont tell me what to think

Strategies for Change
  • 2) Education
  • replace stereotypes with factual information
  • by contrasting myths with facts
  • not to make people experts but to crumble myths
  • Different approaches
  • better understanding less likely to endorse
    stigma and discrimination

Strategies for Change
  • 3) Contact
  • having contact and developing a relationship and
    understanding of someone with a mental illness
    can change/reduce ones perception of those with
    a mental illness
  • this is best if the contact is structured and

Case Study Being Sane in Insane Places
  • eight sane people gained secret admission into 12
    different hospitals
  • Each went to a different hospital and complained
    of hearing voices that were unfamiliar and of the
    same sex as themselves
  • Immediately after admittance, the pseudo-patients
    ceased pretending symptoms and behaved as he/she
    would normally
  • All were discharged in an average of 19 days,
    with diagnosis of schizophrenia in remission

Case Study The Duke Family
  • Bill (50), Winnie (48), Sammy (27), Cindy (23)
  • Cindy also has four young children
  • All suffer from some type of mental disability
  • Sizeable extended families and large network of
    friends/acquaintances, most of which are mentally
  • labelled as disabled/disreputable, but they do
    not attach the same meanings to disability labels
    as found in larger society

Case Study The Duke Family
  • Four factors related to the Dukes ability to
    avoid the stigma
  • Family stands in between individual members and
    programs or agencies provides a ready set of
    interpretations of their experiences
  • Values are shared and reinforced by a large
    network of family and friends, and they
    experience a high degree of contact with them
  • None of the Dukes or members of their network are
    full-time clients of the human services agencies
    they are not engulfed in the separate subculture
    perpetrated by institutions, etc.
  • Competence is a relative concept they are not
    normal, but they are competent enough to meet
    demands of day-to-day life as they experience it

  • Schizophrenia, for instance, is more highly
    stigmatized than depression is. It's routinely
    mocked and is less likely to generate compassion.
    Depression, on the other hand, is less often
    ridiculed, perhaps because an onslaught of
    advertising for antidepressant medications has
    made the disorder more mainstream and more
  • Do you agree with this interpretation regarding
    schizophrenia being less likely to generate

  • Words like "crazy," "cuckoo," "psycho," "wacko"
    and "nutso" are just a few examples of words that
    keep the stigma of mental illness alive. These
    words belittle and offend people with mental
    health problems.
  • News stories sometimes highlight mental illness
    to create a sensation in a news report, even if
    the mental illness is not relevant to the story.
    Advertisers use words like "crazy" to convey that
    their prices are unrealistically low and to
    suggest the consumer can take advantage of them.
  • http//
  • What was your reaction to the video? What are
    your first impressions when you hear an add using
    some of that language? Do they appear to you to
    be derogatory? Do you think you would feel
    differently if you had a mental illness yourself?