Giving a Voice to the Silence offers positive angles to the issue that faces those with mental illness. Living with Schizo-Affective Disorder and being able to share my experiences with others, is the best way I know how to pay it forward. Life can be difficult, my goal is to bring a bit of hope to a place where many feel there is none.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Who do you think Stigmatizes Mental Illness the Most?

Female symbol. Created by Gustavb.Image via Wikipedia

There has always been a fear behind mental illness. The stigma, created by society and the media has increased the fear in those who seek help, often keeping them from the attention they need.

But is there one group that stigmatizes Mental Illness the most? According to a study done in 2002, those who have the most mistrust of the mental health care system and are the least likely to seek help are – white males. The study included the effects of gender, race and socioeconomic status in reference to thoughts on Mental Health care. The conclusion was that when compared to all women and men of other ethnicities, Non-Latino white males, were the most likely to mistrust mental health care, saw mental illness itself as a stigma, therefore shunning any mental health care.

Is it fair to single out white males in the study? I’m not sure, since it is known that mental health, in general, brings stigma with it. But when help is needed and a person’s perception of mental illness and the need for mental health care is one of embarrassment and pride, it can cause problems we may not be expecting.

It is unfortunate when you watch the news and see a crime committed by someone, it is only then do we find out when they get to court that they had a mental illness and never received care….no one told them how important it is.

It is easy to blame our issues away, we are just I a bad mood, or someone upset us. It is difficult and for some nearly impossible to admit we were wrong. Until the view of mental illness changes, until we can see it as a medical condition, such as diabetes, there will be more and more people lost to an illness that does not have to take them away.

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