SUMMATIVE COURSEWORK ASSESSMENT 9
There exist attitudes and beliefs in manycommunities, resulting in the view of mental health illness asuncomfortable and frightening. The attitudes result in the fosteringof stigma as well as discrimination towards individuals having mentalhealth issues. The reactions are mainly occurring when victims arebrave to declare their mental health challenges, and may often resultin several types of discrimination. Stigma towards persons withmental sickness regards to the disgrace, disfavour and undervaluingby the public of persons that are mentally sick. Stigma frequentlyresults in discrimination, unfair treatment and infringement onfreedoms. It can prevent persons with the illness from accessingtreatment, following treatment, finding work and leading successfullives. It is important for society to stop discrimination towardspersons with mental illness. The paper aims at changing theviewpoints and attitudes on the treatment of persons with mentalillness.
Changing Attitudes and Beliefs
Beliefs and attitudes towards mentally sickpersons are widely held within society, regardless of if people knowan individual with the disease, have a mentally ill relative, or haveproper knowhow or experience on the condition (Corkeret al, 2013). Attitudes differ depending onpersons, ethnicity and culture. Spiritual and cultural teachingsinfluence beliefs on the source and nature of the disease, and mouldviewpoints towards the mentally sick. Apart from social stigma,beliefs may influence sick persons’ inclination and will to seekand follow treatment (Corkeret al, 2013). Although attitudes andbeliefs are expressed by all cultures, they seem more widespreadamong black and minorities. In an ethnographic research conducted byCarpenter-Song et al (2010), blacks and Latinos report facing stigmabecause of their mental illness. Stigma was a major aspect of theblacks’ reactions to treatment. When compared to EuropeanAmericans, African Americans tend to feel frustrated bypsychiatrists’ concentration on medication, while the former viewit as an integral factor of treatment. In addition, Latino’s seeclinical diagnosis of mental sickness as socially damaging, opting torefer to their conditions as nervios,which leads to less stigma (Carpenter-Song et al, 2010). Since blacksand other ethnic minorities are less probable to seek and get healthcare, it implies that the population is most affected by mentalillness stigma. Within society, blacks and other minorities facediscrimination from those within their society, including family.
It is apparent that beliefs and attitudesinfluence the manner in which mentally ill persons are treated. Thisis in regards to medication, assessment, prejudice and people viewingthe ill with apprehension. The social impacts of these influencesinvolve exclusion, reduced social support, a poor subjective lifequality and a reduced self worth (Corriganet al, 2012). In addition, beliefs andattitudes have a negative effect on lifestyle thus impeding effectiverecovery from mental sickness challenges (Carpenter-Song et al,2010). The issues present a relevant cause for endeavouring to doaway with mental health stigma, in turn ensuring the facilitation ofsocial inclusion and effective treatment. With good knowhow of theimpact of the illness on victims, attention focuses on manners ofreducing the negative attitudes and beliefs. Since these negativeattitudes are so embedded in society, campaigns to alter the beliefsmust be multifaceted (Corriganet al, 2012). Persuading people willinvolve more than informing on mental health issues, and will requirechallenging current negative stereotypes specifically as depicted viamedia. Hence, the use of media campaigns is an effective way ofaddressing the stigma and its negative impacts. By using videos,commercials and blogs, it is possible for a psychiatrist to writeabout mental sickness (Sartorius& Schulze,2005).
Conversely, informing on the illness by merelymaking information available to society is not effective inpersuading people to stop stigma. This is because even persons thathave knowhow on mental health issues, like nurses or psychiatrists,often harbour stigmatizing viewpoints concerning mental illness(Angermeyer, Matschinger &Schomerus, 2013). As a result,concentration focuses on various techniques for enhancing inter-groupassociations and minimization of discrimination. The techniquesintend at promoting events, which motivate mass participation, socialcontact amid persons having and those with no mental illness, andease positive intergroup association and admission of mental healthchallenges (Angermeyer,Matschinger & Schomerus, 2013). Theinter-group events have demonstrated to be effective because theyenhance attitudes towards individuals having mental illness enhanceprospect readiness of revealing mental health challenges andencourage conducts linked with anti-stigma engagement. When thegeneral population is able to mingle with persons with mentalsickness, it becomes easier for them to be treated normally. Suchinteractions are possible by ensuring equality in workplaces, whereemployers do not fail to hire persons that have mental healthchallenges (Walker& Fincham, 2011).When people realize that individuals with mental illness are able tolead normal lives, it becomes possible to accept them as normal.Thus, chances for the public to contact individuals having extrememental sickness might discount stigma.
Poor treatment is a different public health issue,which has the possibility of increasing stigma. This is because manypsychosocial as well as medical treatments appear to havedisempowering effects in the sick (Sartorius& Schulze,2005). Thus, those that needs the treatmentresort not to fully take part in treatment or assessment. Individualswith mental sickness that self-stigmatize seem to report minimalindividual empowerment in regards to treatment, and thus taking partin treatment is reduced. This means that interventions, whichchallenge personal stigma and make possible empowerment are probableto enhance adherence (Barry& Jenkins, 2007).Professionals ought to be capable of recognizing the meaning ofadherence, which entails active participation and involvement in allfactors of care. Persons that provide care or treatment to thementally ill play a huge role in influencing attitudes and beliefsamong the ill, and their relatives (Barry& Jenkins, 2007).Thus, the need to ensure that assessments are accurate the affectedare properly informed on mental illness and proper treatment given.Proper treatments and assessment results in proper handling of thedisease, which is a form of treatment advocacy, which makes society,realize that it is possible to deal with mental sickness (Cromby,Harper & Reavey, 2013). Hence, providedthe ill are properly assessed and taking medication, they should notbe viewed as persons that can cause harm on others.
Rationale – it is apparent that people ofdifferent cultures and ethnicities hold beliefs and attitudes towardsmental illness. Since the perceptions are mainly negative, they havea detrimental impact on the ill. The beliefs derive from persons thatare either related to the ill, those not related or even thoseexpected to provide care to the mentally sick (Evans-Lackoet al, 2012). The outcome is that the sickare incapable to assess appropriate treatment and have to deal withsocial stigma. Such stigma also results in self-stigmatization,further impeding assessment, treatment or the ability to seekmedication (Evans-Lacko etal, 2012). The communication is importantin enlightening on mental illness. Many people hold their personalbeliefs on what mental illness is, and how persons having mentalhealth problems behave. As such, they end up discriminating themresulting in social isolation for the mentally sick. People needawareness that people with mental conditions cannot cause harm thatthey are able to function normally in society, hence should not besubjected to social isolation.
Target – the communication targets the generalpopulation. This is because societies have their different views onmental health problems. However, research demonstrates that AfricanAmericans and other minority groups seem to hold more prejudicetowards mental illness (Carpenter-Song et al, 2010). Thus, thepersuasive communication targets minorities with the objective ofenlightening them on why they should not discriminate those that havethe mental health problems. Once informed, it becomes easy forsociety to assist and accept the mentally ill in seeking treatment,ensure they are properly assessed and take the needed medication. Thecommunication largely eliminates or stops racial discriminationtowards minority groups or African Americans that are victims.
Development – in order to persuade people tochanging their views and beliefs, it is necessary to ensure they areproperly informed on mental health problems. Once, aware of mentalhealth issues, people are then informed on the negative effects ofdiscrimination. Because it is properly that the population is unawareof the effects discrimination has to the mentally ill, thecommunication as well provides statistics on how the ill react oncethey feel discriminated. Most of these views derive from thesupposition mental illness may cause those with the illness to becomeviolent. Once, informed on how individuals with mental illness react,its causes and cure, then society learns to accept the condition likeother illnesses. This then follows persuasion on how society caneffectively stop discrimination.
The message needs to be given in a manner that isinformative and influential. Informative communication enlightenspeople and is effective in altering their views. Influentialcommunication causes people to react. In this case, society stopsdiscrimination and begins to accept mental health issues. The peoplebeing persuaded are important because they are mostly the onesinfluencing self-stigma, medical practitioners that provide care tothe ill and relatives that live with mentally ill persons. Theindividual communicating is a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists assess,treat and provide medication for mental illness. This means that thepsychiatrist is more informed on the problem, knows how to providecare, is aware of how society should treat victims and is moreinfluential. People are more likely to listen to the psychiatristbecause he or she is an expert on mental health problems. The mannerin which the audience sees the individual communicating is relevant.This is because society is more likely to judge a message dependingon the communicator. If society feels that the communicator isknowledgeable, then the chances of altering their views and beliefsare also high.
Importance in processing the information –people already has stereotypes concerning mental illness. Those thatare mentally ill are unable to access treatment, get medication orassessment that is appropriate because of widespread discrimination.This means that altering such views is not an instant process,bearing in mind that the stereotypes are also widespread among somehealth practitioners (Cromby,Harper & Reavey, 2013). The informationneeds to be systematic to ensure that the change is long lasting.Systematic by an organized approach in dealing with people’sattitudes and ensuring that they are slowly and permanently changes.
Angermeyer, M. C., Matschinger, H.,& Schomerus, G. (2013). Attitudes towards psychiatric treatmentand people with mental illness: changes over two decades. TheBritish Journal of Psychiatry, 203(2),146-151.
Barry, M. M., & Jenkins, R.(2007). Implementingmental health promotion.Edinburgh: ChurchillLivingstone.
Carpenter-Song, E., Chu, E., Drake, R.E., Ritsema,M., Smith, B., Alverson, H. (2010). Ethno- cultural variations in theexperience and meaning of mental illness and treatment: implicationsfor access and utilization. TransculturalPsychiatry,47(2): 224-251.
Corker, E., Hamilton, S.,Henderson, C., Weeks, C., Pinfold, V., Rose, D., … &Thornicroft, G. (2013). Experiences of discrimination among peopleusing mental health services in England 2008-2011. TheBritish Journal of Psychiatry,202(55),58-63.
Corrigan, P. W., Morris, S. B.,Michaels, P. J., Rafacz, J. D., & Rüsch, N. (2012). Challenging the public stigma of mental illness: a meta-analysis of outcomestudies. Psychiatric Services, 63(10),963-973.
Cromby, J., Harper, D & Reavey,P. (2013). Psychology,mental health and distress.East London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Evans-Lacko, S., Brohan, E.,Mojtabai, R., & Thornicroft, G. (2012). Association betweenpublic views of mental illness and self-stigma among individualswith mental illness in 14 European countries. Psychologicalmedicine, 42(08),1741-1752.
Sartorius, N., Schulze, H., &Global Programme of the World Psychiatric Association. (2005). Reducingthe stigma of mental illness: A report from a Global Programme of the WorldPsychiatric Association.Cambridge, Angleterre New York: Cambridge UniversityPress.
Walker, C., & Fincham, B.(2011). Workand the mental health crisis in Britain.Chichester, WestSussex: Wiley-Blackwell.