stigma of mental illness

The myths of mental illness: There are many myths about mental illness. Until people learn the truth, they will continue to deny that mental illness exists at all or to avoid the topic entirely. How much do you know about mental illness? Here are some of the common myths -and truths.

People with mental illness are violent and dangerous. The truth is that, as a group, mentally ill people are no more violent than any other group. In fact, they are far more likely to be the victims of violence than to be violent themselves.

People with mental illness are poor and/or less intelligent. Many studies show that most mentally ill people have average or above-average intelligence. Mental illness, like physical illness, can affect anyone regardless of intelligence, social class or income level.

Mental illness is caused by a personal weakness. A mental illness is not a character flaw. It is an illness, and it has nothing to do with being weak or lacking will-power. Although people with mental illness can play a big part in their own recovery, they did not choose to become ill, and they are not lazy because they cannot just “snap out of it.”

Mental illness is a single, rare disorder. Mental illness is not a single disease but a broad classification for many disorders. Anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, personality disorders, eating disorders and organic brain disorders can cause misery, tears and missed opportunities for thousands of Canadians (CMHA.ca).

What is Stigma? Stigma is made up of two parts: negative and unfavorable attitudes, and negative behaviours that result from those attitudes. People living with a mental illness often experience stigma through: Inequality in employment, housing, educational and other opportunities which the rest of us take for granted; Loss of friends and family members (the social and support network); Self-stigma created when someone with a mental illness believes the negative messages (mentalhealthcommission.ca).

RELATED READING:

Advertisements