Stigma is Identified as the Key Deterrent to Help Seeking

  • Stigma is identified as the key deterrent to help-seeking for people with mental health issues (Corrigan 2011). Mental health stigma which is attached to shame, is when someone sees a person in a negative way because of mental illness. For people with mental health issues, stigma  makes problems worse, making it harder to recover. Some of the harmful effects of stigma include: 

    ·      feelings of shame, hopelessness and Isolation  

    ·      reluctance to ask for help or to get treatment  

    ·      lack of understanding by family, friends or others isolation  

    ·      fewer opportunities for employment or social interaction  

    ·      bullying, physical violence or harassment  self-doubt – the belief that you will never overcome your illness or be able to achieve what you want in life.


    Research by Beyond Blue about Stigma and discrimination associated with depression and anxiety indicates that when it comes to specific work situations approximately one in three employees,

    ·      have reservations about working with a person experiencing depression or anxiety

    ·      would prefer that a person experiencing depression or anxiety was not their line manager

    ·      did not think someone experiencing depression or anxiety would be able to perform adequately at their job.

    ·      Males and older employees are more likely to have concerns about the workplace performance of a colleague experiencing depression or anxiety.

    Some employees agreed that,

    ·      They would avoid a co-worker with depression/anxiety

    ·      Depression/anxiety is not a medical condition

    ·      Depression/anxiety is a sign of weakness

    ·      They should snap out of it.

    ·      People with mental health issues should leave their problems at home

    ·      People with mental health issues use mental illness as an excuse to be lazy or receive special treatment.

    ·      People with mental health issues are unstable, violent or dangerous.


    Corrigan, P.W. (2011).

    Strategic stigma change (SSC): Five principles for social marketing campaigns to reduce stigma.

    Psychiatric services, 62 (8), 824 – 826.

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