Stigma Essay

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What is Stigma? A growing issue within today’s society is the stigmatizing of people that may have a mental illness. Gail W. Stuart defined stigma as, “a mark of disgrace or discredit that is used to identify and separate out people whom society sees as deviant, sinful, or dangerous” (Stuart, 2013, p. 175). Stigma is being ignorant, having fear and guilt and discriminating against people who have a mental illness. The stigma of mental illness is what stops people from getting help because they are scared. Stigma may make a person feel isolated from friends and family or even lonely at times. Most individuals do not realize that stigma may affect anyone in society like a doctor, a waitress, or a homeless person. We as a society need to be …show more content…
45% of Americans feel uncomfortable talking to someone who has bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Another 48% struggle to talk to people who have attempted to commit suicide (Stuart, 2013, p. 176). People in society see people with mental illness as people who are, “crazy or weird.” They are not seen as being in the norm for society. In clinical this semester I have noticed just a few examples of stigma. When we are sitting in the nurse’s station, we hear everything the nurses say to each other. One nurse in particular told us one day that she wished there was the acronym, BSC, in Epic. She told us it stood for, “ bat shit crazy.” Another example is when I had a patient tell me over and over again that they were not crazy but the other patients on the unit were. This patient had stigmatized the other patients. When I am out and about and I see someone do something strange; I may say that they are acting crazy or psychotic. By doing this, I am referencing to people that have mental illness. We may not mean what we are saying but we are still adding to the stigma that society has given us. In our very own way each and every one of us may stigmatize someone we have seen in our …show more content…
The best way to reduce the stigma in the mental health area is making it public knowledge. One way this has happened is by making it a worldwide day. This year, World Mental Health day was October 10th. World Mental Health Day was made to help decrease the stigma of mental illnesses by educating the public. It seems more people tend to take things serious, if there is a day for just that cause. In the text, Principles and Practice of Psychiatric Nursing, it gives some great examples of programs that can be used to reduce stigma. Those programs are StigmaBusters, Elimination of Barriers Initiative, In Our Own Voice, and BringChange2Mind.org. StigmaBusters is a little different than the others. This program works to change the medias thinking of mental illness instead of just educating. They protest the stigmatizing the media does (Stuart, 2013, p.177). In the end though, all of these programs work towards a common goal: end the stigma of mental

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