The two different stigmas surrounding mental health
Public stigma is the reaction that the general population typically has to mental illness. Self-stigma is the negative feelings that people with mental health issues have about their mental illness. Stereotypes, discrimination, and prejudice affect both types of stigma. There is a negative perception of mental illness that is often found in the media.
After hearing about a violent crime on the news, for example, although the criminal may have a mental illness, people tend to automatically label them “crazy,” which does a great disservice to those who live with mental health conditions every day. In addition, somebody with mental illness is statistically more likely to be the victim of a crime- not the perpetrator.
Self-stigma in people who live with mental illness looks like:
- Feeling worthless and inferior because of their condition
- Assuming people will think less of them if they find out about their mental health condition
- Not wanting to go out and socialize for fear that they will put a damper on things
People with mental illness often think that they did something to cause it when in reality, mental health conditions can be caused by a combination of genetics, trauma, environmental factors.