Mental Illness

Mental Illness
Mental Illness, that term conjures up a vast array of frightening images in the minds of the general public and media; an unfair image that is stigmatizing for the sufferer. The stigma is also pervasive in the mental health field, where patients who receive treatment are sometimes treated unfairly by the practitioners, who are supposed to help them in the first place. This is what my paper will discuss, the effects of stigma and labeling on patients and their families. I have culled many sources from scholarly papers, that back up my claim. I will describe what I thought of about the articles and how they pertain to the main points I am trying to make.
In our society today, mental health treatment is considered to be much more humane and scientific, rather than the barbaric treatment given to mental health patients in the past. Although the psychiatric profession has considerably advanced, there seems to be a growing consensus from many mental health consumers and families, that the stigma of the past is still present in the treatment of mental illness today. It is considered inhumane to deprive someone in getting adequate treatment for their mental illness, but that is what is happening to many disabled mental health consumers. The majority of mental health consumers cannot afford to get the advanced treatment that is available for them, unless they either have enough money or good insurance coverage; most however do not.
It is usually impossible to get into the specialty psychiatric clinics, like Stanford and UCLA, where treatment is very advanced and up-to date, therefore consumers have to be treated often within the county?s mental health system; which is very rated very poor. In the article published by: Sharon Bowland, Melissa Hensley, Bethany Johnson, and Angela Fleming called, ?Consumer Focus Groups: A Key to Transforming Behavioral Health Systems??, the authors used a qualitative study, to find out what mental health consumers and their families thought would help reform the mental health system and thus improving the treatment for all. The study took opinions from the severely ill and their caretakers, this makes it a accurate study that has good validity.
From looking at the study, the number one major concern that the consumers had with the mental health treatments, whether inpatient or outpatient, was the stigma of getting treatment by mental health practitioners and the stigma attached to the labels; both being perpetuated by the general public and the practitioners . I liked how the article talked about how mental health consumers had an income of less than 10,000 and how even though they had someone to take care of them, they still did not have enough money for adequate treatment. This is exactly the point I am trying to make, that adequate mental health treatment is beyond the budget that the average consumer has. The article also talked about how people who are in the public mental health system, had no insurance coverage to get good care; the care they got as described by family members, was like being ?stuck in a spider?s web.? (Sharon Bowland., etc all 2010). She brings up a good analogue because she is describing, how being in the public mental health system is filled with stigma and that it takes a lot of effort to get out of it and receive good care.
The one prevailing myth about people with mental illness, is that they are violent, even though it is a false myth, most people with mental illness are not violent and the ones who are violent, tend to have antisocial personality disorder. The article had a patient describe his experience of stigma, in his words, he said, ?We don?t have a voice, we are taboo. I had a friend classify my illness as ?you have demons?., (Sharon Bowland., etc all 2010); This is the outdated view of mental illness, that still goes on in society today.
In the article called ?Sinful and/or Possessed? Religious Beliefs and Mental Illness Stigma?; Eric D. Wesselmann and William G. Graziano provide us with a detailed empirical and qualitative study of religion and mental health stigma. The authors of the article, cite many sources from social psychologists, to make their point about how religion sometimes targets groups like people with mental illness; thus causing stigma to be ever-present, in the lives of the sufferer. They even cite one of their sources from Erving Goffman, who is one of the most established writers on the topic of stigma. They, describe how often religious groups view people with mental illness as: unpredictable, unattractive, incompetent, and dangerous. This causes people with mental illnesses, a lot of needless suffering and self-stigma, even causing problems in attaining housing and employment because of peoples false-beliefs about mental illness.
The authors, described 4 common misconceptions about mental illness from the religious perspective: demonic possession, sinful lifestyle/divine punishment, prayer/faith, and attitudes about treatment. The view of demonic possession is still held by a lot of religious groups; it is also one of the most outdated views. They even reference a tragic event that happened to a little boy who had autism, that was treated with an exorcism attempt and that lead to his tragic death; this outdated method of treating mental illness is very dangerous. It harkens back to the dark ages, before the age of enlightenment, where people were brutally treated and even murdered because of their illness. Often religious groups, have a view of mental illness, as being caused by a sinful lifestyle and divine punishment; in other words they deserve to suffer, is what some religious groups think. However, this is an unfair view of mental illness and one that can both dehumanize mental suffering and stop people from getting treatment. The prayer and faith category is what the treatment for mental illness would be, when being treated by religious groups, they surmise that you need to have a lot of faith and pray often to recover from mental illness. I think prayer and faith is a good thing and I am not saying that only psychological and pharmacological treatment can help, but what I am trying to say is that the stigma must stop and people should be more educated about mental health.
Lastly the final category in the article talks about how religious groups don?t believe in medication nor psychological therapies other than their own; this view can be very harmful to patients with mental illness. I liked, how the article took the findings and used it to make a empirically reliable and valid peer-reviewed article about the stigma being perpetuated by religious groups. According to the study, the religious groups that were most likely to perpetuate this stigma were Protestants and Non-Denominational Christians. The authors hope that religion can change its views and help people with mental illness through kindness, encouragement, and support.
Usually mental health patients are afraid of getting treatment, even from the mental health practitioners, who sometimes treat their patients more like robots; once ill the patient is thought of as someone, who has no volition; meaning free will. In the article

Works Cited

Bowland, S., Hensley, M., Johnson, B., & Fe, A. (2010). Consumer focus groups: A key to transforming behavioral health systems?. International Journal of Mental Health, 39(1), 16-28. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

Flanagan, E., Miller, R., & Davidson, L. (2009). ?Unfortunately, we treat the chart:? Sources of stigma in mental health settings. Psychiatric Quarterly, 80(1), 55-64. doi:10.1007/s11126-009-9093-7.

Jorm, A., & Oh, E. (2009). Desire for social distance from people with mental disorders. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 43(3), 183-200. doi:10.1080/00048670802653349.

Kondrat, D., & Teater, B. (2009). An anti-stigma approach to working with persons with severe mental disability: Seeking real change through narrative change. Journal of Social Work Practice, 23(1), 35-47. doi:10.1080/02650530902723308.

Rao, H., Mahadevappa, H., Pillay, P., Sessay, M., Abraham, A., & Luty, J. (2009). A study of stigmatized attitudes towards people with mental health problems among health professionals. Journal of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing, 16(3), 279-284. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2850.2008.01369.×.

Wesselmann, E., & Graziano, W. (2010). Sinful and/or possessed? Religious beliefs and mental illness stigma. Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, 29(4), 402-437. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

Mental Illness 9.5 of 10 on the basis of 2307 Review.