What is stigma?

Stigma is a negative attitude or belief about the mental, physical or social characteristics of a person or group of people. This means there is social disapproval. Stigma is a major problem because they can lead to negative effects such as discrimination.

While there are many different types of social stigma, mental health stigma tends to be very common. It can be powerful and can severely impact physical and mental health outcomes. Some symptoms of stigma include social withdrawal or isolation, loss of employment and economic security, physical violence, and more.

This article will discuss what stigma is, the signs and types of stigma, its effects, and how to deal with it.

sign of shame

Signs of stigma can be obvious or so subtle that they go unnoticed. For example, stigma can be presented as a joke that not everyone sees as a negative opinion. Even when stigma is ignored, the effects of stigma can be devastating.

Signs of stigma include:

  • Use slang terms or labels to exclude people or groups of people
  • Jokes about physical or mental health conditions or race, ethnicity, religion, etc.
  • Halloween costumes that depict people or crowds in a negative way
  • Assumptions made about a person based on physical or mental health conditions or race, ethnicity, religion, etc.
  • Certain groups of people are repeatedly negatively reported in the media
  • Different treatments that are isolating or harmful due to the psychological, physical or social characteristics of a person or group of people
  • Legal or institutional provisions that isolate or negatively affect certain groups of people

Types of Stigma

There are three main types of stigma, describing broad categories of human attributes associated with negative thoughts. They include the stigma of mental illness, the stigma of body deformity, and the stigma of race, ethnicity, religion, ideology, and more. Within these categories, there are other types of stigma.

mental health stigma

Mental health stigma is negative attitudes or thoughts about the mental health characteristics of a person or group of people. It is associated with social disapproval of individuals or groups based on mental health characteristics.

Negative beliefs can come from a variety of sources, including people with this mental health trait. For example, stigma is often associated with mental illnesses such as depression. This stigma may prevent people with depression from pursuing educational and career goals because they perceive themselves to be less capable than people without depression.

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Types of mental health stigma include:

  • Social stigma or public stigma: When society or the public shares negative thoughts or beliefs about a person or group of people with mental health problems
  • Structural or institutional stigma: Systemic stigma against mental illness at higher levels of government or organizations that influence policy or decision making
  • Self-perceived stigma or self-stigma: When a person with a mental illness has negative thoughts or beliefs about themselves based on the mental illness
  • Health Practitioner Stigma: When a person’s care is negatively affected by provider stereotypes, beliefs, or associations about mental illness
  • Associative stigma or politeness stigma: stigma affecting people associated with people with mental health problems, such as friends or family members

Stigma related to physical features, deformations, or conditions

Body shape stigma is a negative attitude or belief about the characteristics of a person or group of people associated with physical differences or disabilities. It is associated with social disapproval of individuals or groups based on physical characteristics or conditions. This can lead to serious negative effects.

Like mental health stigma, there are different types of body shaper stigma. Examples of such stigma include negative associations with deafness and blindness, or stigma associated with certain health conditions, such as HIV or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

What does it mean for STDs to be stigmatized by society?

Stigma related to race, ethnicity, religion, ideology, etc.

Stigma related to race, ethnicity, religion, ideology, etc. is a negative attitude or belief about one of these or similar characteristics of a person or group of people. It is associated with social disapproval of an individual or group based on one or more characteristics.

Like mental health stigma, there are different types of racial, ethnic, religious, ideological, etc. stigma. This stigma affects generations and has shaped laws and politics throughout history.

The Intergenerational Impact of Racism on Health

shameful history

A sociologist named Irving Goffman was an early leader in the study of stigma. He is credited with identifying three types of shame, although they were initially slightly different. they are:

  • The stigma of mental illness is called stigma due to character flaws,
  • The stigma of being deformed is called the stigma of body dysmorphia.
  • Tribal stigma includes stigma based on race, ethnicity, religion, ideology, etc.
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Ongoing research on the topic can help identify other components of stigma and build an understanding of the negative effects that can lead to changes to improve the situation. Unfortunately, stigma is still common. For example, about 54% experienced self-stigmatization, which can lead to negative effects such as social withdrawal.

Study: People Facing Discrimination Have Higher Risk of Anxiety Disorders

The impact of social stigma

Social stigma or public stigma is the social or public sharing of negative thoughts or beliefs about a person or group of people. For example, mental health social stigma might be the association between mental illness and danger, or the belief that people with mental illness are out of control and hurting others.

Social stigma can have huge negative effects, not just for people who belong to that group. This can even deter people with mental health problems from seeking treatment.

Stigma creates stereotypes

This stigma and negative impact can harm people with the disorder, those close to them such as friends, family members, caregivers, community members, and people who share traits with them but do not have the disorder. It often comes in the form of stereotypes and discrimination against people with conditions and others.

For example, in addition to being discriminated against for people with depression, people who are going through hard times and who are grieving but don’t have depression may also be discriminated against. Despite the challenges, there are ways to deal with stigma.

What is the difference between stigma and stereotype?

coping with stigma

It’s important for anyone who suffers from stigma to understand that they are not alone. Mental health conditions can be treated and support is available in the face of stigma and discrimination. For example, many employers offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to support employees with work and life issues, including stigma, discrimination, and issues that negatively impact mental and emotional health.

How are workplace wellness programs regulated?

There are many things that can address mental health stigma, both personally and more broadly.

Here are some tips for dealing with mental health stigma:

  • Seeking treatment for mental health conditions
  • Get support from community, school and workplace resources
  • Watch for signs of social withdrawal and connect with family, friends and health professionals
  • Talking openly about the facts and realities of mental illness
  • Learn about mental health conditions as well as physical health conditions
  • Choose words carefully to remain sensitive to others
  • Raise awareness of the language and behaviours that represent stigma in order to change them
  • Educate others to help de-stigmatize mental illness
  • Choosing to believe and show shame to others is inaccurate

generalize

Stigma is negative attitudes or thoughts about the mental, physical or social characteristics of a person or group of people that are disapproved by society. This issue is a big problem for people and society with mental health issues. It can lead to discrimination and negatively impact mental health and overall well-being.

Mental illness stigma, body deformity stigma, and race, ethnicity, religion, ideology, etc., are the three main types of stigma. Despite the negative effects of stigma, there are a few things that can help address and overcome these challenges.

VigorTip words

Stigma, including mental health stigma, can be challenging. Negative impacts touch on many different areas of well-being and life. If you or someone you know is suffering from stigma, you are not alone. Mental health conditions can be treated, and settings where there may be stigma and discrimination can be helped. Seek support from your workplace, school, community resources or health care professional. You are not your mental illness, it is possible to meet and overcome these challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is an example of stigma?

    Some examples of stigma include the belief that people with poor mental health are dangerous, people with poor physical health are unable to contribute to society, and people of a particular race, ethnicity, religion or ideology are less intelligent than others.

  • In short, what is shame?

    Stigma is a negative attitude towards mental, physical or social characteristics. This can lead to poor treatment of populations, impaired physical and mental health of those populations, and other negative effects.

  • What is a healthy stigma?

    Health stigma can be related to physical health, mental health, or both. Refers to people with physical or mental health problems being negatively evaluated for health challenges.

  • What are the three types of stigma?

    As identified by Erving Goffman, the three types of stigma are stigma related to mental illness, stigma related to body deformation, and stigma related to race, ethnicity, religion, ideology, etc. name.