Corrigan's Social Cognitive Approach To Mental Illness

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There is a plethora of theoretical and empirical evidence that suggests that the condition of mentally ill patients can be improved by relevant treatments (Kyrios, Hordern and Fassnacht, 2015; Knouse and Fleming, 2016). However, despite this, further research has shown that only one-in-four young people with a mental illness actually seek and receive treatment (Sawyer et al., 2001). A key contributor to this aversion to treatment is the stigma associated with mental illness that deters individuals, who would otherwise benefit from psychological treatments, from seeking out and fully engaging with these treatments (Tucker, 2013; Corrigan, 2004).

Stigmas pertaining to mental illness can originate from societal perceptions of mental illness.
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Initially, individuals may notice a particular cue in themselves, for example sustained depressive affect, or their engagement in psychological treatment could act a cue, and begin to associate themselves with stereotypes pertaining to mental illness. They may start to believe that they are incompetent and worthless. Tucker (2013) provides a nuanced understanding of the distinction between mental illness personal stigmas and help-seeking personal stigmas, facilitating a better understanding of how individuals attempt to avoid stigmatisation. An individual may conceal his or her illness from others in order to prevent social stigmatisation and labeling (Link, 1987). This forms a fundamental barrier to help-seeking as an individual who has a mental illness, may not divulge this information about themselves to a professional (Corrigan, 2004). Moreover, in an effort to elude a second stigma associated with help seeking, individuals may totally reject the presence of the mental illness, which manifests as they choose not to seek out psychological treatment. When an individual starts to internalise these stereotypes and consequently ascribe to this belief, they may begin to form a stigmatising attitude, believing that their illness limits themselves in some way (Abdullah, 2011). An individual may experience the ‘why try effect’ (Corrigan, Larson & Rusch, 2009), whereby they lack the self-belief that they could complete a task and so they don’t even attempt it. This is known as the discrimination of personal stigma, whereby, the individual precludes himself from opportunities that present themselves. This personal-discrimination can also apply if an individual doesn’t belief that they can overcome their mental illness, and may influence their engagement with treatment and

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