Stigma Associated with Disease Essay

Stigma Associated with Disease Essay

Stigma Associated with Disease Essay

Topic 2: Stigma Associated with Disease

Some vulnerable populations may have diseases, health impairments, and pregnancy that bring humiliation and predisposed judgment. Unfortunately, these health conditions can cause vulnerable populations to become ostracized by the general public.Stigma Associated with Disease Essay

What ways would you choose to function as an advocate for vulnerable populations?
Discuss the types of assistance you might provide to each of the following clients from a vulnerable population:
A 24-year-old pregnant woman who is currently homeless and unmarried
A 16-year-old girl who has run away from her foster home and who has an IV drug habit
An immigrant worker whose TB skin test just came back positive
An employed, married man who contracted Hepatitis B through a blood transfusion 30 years ago
With a society that is so diverse in its own nature, issues pertaining to cultural diversity are bound to occur in the process of team management and leadership. Using the South University Online Library or the Internet, research about cultural diversity. Based on your research and understanding, answer the following questions:Stigma Associated with Disease Essay

How does having members of different cultures on a team affect the team’s performance?
How would you incorporate a person from a culture of your choice into your team, keeping in mind communication differences within your and the chosen culture?

The word ‘stigma’ is a Latin word meaning “a mark made on skin by burning with a hot
iron.” In our society, it refers to the prejudice that results from the labels we put on people who
have some undesirable condition, such as mental illness. More often than not, it becomes a
building block for a jail cell that eventually imprisons the one who is inflicted. I will focus on
my experience with my grandfather, the effects of stigma in his life, and how awareness can

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Three years ago, grandfather had stayed in our home in New Jersey. ‘Papa’ as I called
him, came to us after having been evicted from his condominium in Florida. He had stopped
taking his medication to treat paranoia schizophrenia and made decisions that triggered his whole
life to come crashing down.
Mom arranged for Papa to fly to our place. After a medical checkup, he was told that
cancer had spread to his kidney. It seemed that in a split second, our ‘lenses’ had been
instantaneously changed, like that of a camera. It is strange how a dark moment can cause us to
see things we have never seen before. Walls that had been built up over decades seemed to have
crumbled to fragments in just a few minutes. We all became more aware of Papa, in all his
humanity; rather than ‘our dad with the mental handicap.’ We all realized how deep-rooted was
the stigma he carried, even amongst his closest family members.Stigma Associated with Disease Essay
During Papa’s stay, I got to know him as we spent time playing the piano, walking, and
sharing stories of the past. The grandfather I got to know was someone who was passionate,
musically talented, highly intelligent, and one who did amazing architectural renderings!
Papa seemed to always have this quiet frustration about how people treated him. Even
with his clouded judgment and perception, he knew when people shunned him. He was fully
aware of his family members who had cut him off from their lives because of the fear and shame
of the stigma he carried. This caused him much more pain than the strange looks and responses
he would get from others.
Each person has the right to “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”, but for a person
stigmatized with mental health, that right is taken away. You see, Papa lived within 2 prisons –
the one caused by mental dysfunction; the other, created by stigma. The effect of stigma is deep
and not easy to comprehend. A stigmatized person may never feel he has a home. It is probably
why Papa was always restless and seemed to be chasing something he could never find.
Part of the solution lies in awareness. When my family opened up and embraced my
grandfather without judgment, we saw greatness in him. He felt true acceptance, love and a
sense of belonging. Awareness breaks down walls, and allows us to see the value in a person
who is different from us.
I believe that if we made more effort to spread awareness of mental illness, stigma would
diminish. The climate in our communities would become one that helps to foster healing, rather
than judgment and fear of those who face mental health challenges.Stigma Associated with Disease Essay

Why it’s Important to be Stigma Free: Melody Hart
Raise the Bar on Freedom, Lift the Bars of Stigma
In our national anthem, we sing of a country we call ‘the land of the free….’ However,
some people with mental illness are not free at all because the stigma they carry has created an
internal prison.
We hear about school shootings and crimes committed by someone with a mental
disorder. Was it a way to escape from their inner prison? Was it a raging cry to be relieved not
just from the disease itself but also from the oppressive bars of stigma?
Lifting the stigma attached to mental illness can free a community to begin to truly heal.
Junior High Winner for Project: Melody Hart
School & Grade: Homeschooled (Gillette, NJ), 8th Grade
Project: Paint and Rip – Melody Hart
In order to reduce and remove the stigma, we need to bring awareness to our
communities and also provide a healthy outlet for those who struggle with mental illness.
The project I imagine is ‘Paint and Rip.’ This is based on the original idea of ‘Paint and
Sip’ which are social events led by an artist to do a painting as the attendees enjoy beverages
such as hot chocolate. In Paint and Rip, a mental health professional would go alongside an
artist to lead the event and inspire people to ‘rip up’ negative labels attached to a mentally ill
person and paint a picture reflecting hope or freedom from the chains of stigma.
Each participant will be asked to write down a negative label, often tagged on to an
afflicted person, on a post-it note. Then, the notes will be posted on a ‘Stigma Wall’. As the
notes begin to cover the wall, guests will realize how extensive the judgment is that we cast on a
mentally ill person.
This would help to foster compassion, hope and relationship in families who trek a dark
and lonely terrain as they try to find lasting solutions for a loved one.

Stigma Free Essay Contest Winners: High School
High School Winner for Primary Essay: Samia Shivon
School & Grade: Boonton High School (Boonton, NJ), 11th Grade
Stigma is the disapproval and discrimination against a person based on perceivable social Stigma Associated with Disease Essay
characteristics that serve to distinguish them from other members of a society. When it involves
mental illness, someone views a person in a negative way because they have a mental health
condition. Some people describe stigma as a feeling of shame or judgement from others. It can
even come from an internal place, where people feel embarrassed or ashamed for the illness they
possess. It is very important to be stigma-free. Navigating life with a mental health condition can
be tough and exhausting. The isolation, blame and secrecy that is often encouraged by stigma
can create huge challenges to reaching out, getting needed support, and living well. Stigma
causes many people into silence and prevents them from seeking help, which hurts them severely
in their life. If more people were stigma free, it would result in people being comfortable with
getting help and even save lives.
One stigmatized issue that has affected me and those I know personally is the mental
condition called depression. I have never experienced depression, but I know people close to me
who have and how it affects them. For example, one of the most important people in my suffered
from depression. When she was around others, she pretended to be happy. She was social and
laughed as if everything was fine in her life. However, when she was alone with me, I saw how
upset she felt. Her emotions made me frustrated because I felt there was nothing I could do to
help her. In addition, many relatives in her family don’t understand mental illnesses. Many think
that it “does not exist” or “it does not last.” Due to this, she did not talk about how she was truly
feeling for a long time. The social stigma caused her to stay in silence. She could have reached
out and been given help earlier if it wasn’t for this stigma.
A paragraph in the original essay has been removed to preserve
confidentiality, and will be edited before its final publishing.Stigma Associated with Disease Essay

There are many methods we can use to help lessen the negative impact of the stigma. One
thing that we can do is to make students more educated. Students are our future. If we can make
them knowledgeable about this issue, they can teach others while they are growing up. We can
talk about social stigma as a topic during health class or invite guest speakers to come into our
school and talk to everyone about their experiences. Also, everyone should be conscious of
language. It is so easy to refrain from using mental health conditions as adjectives. We should
learn to talk openly about mental health in class discussions or at family gatherings. We can put
posters around the town with a message that supports the end of social stigma as a kindly
reminder to everyone to not judge others. We should all remember to be supportive of anyone
who is dealing with a mental illness.
In conclusion, stigma views a person in a negative way. This hurts people who have a
mental health condition because it forces a feeling of shame and guilt on them. It makes them
think that they are not good enough to receive treatment or that it is there fault for having that
illness. People who are close to me who have depression suffered and felt pain because of the
stigma they received from others. If we all work together, we can end stigma once and for all.
Ending this cruel discrimination will influence people to seek help and save many lives from
being taken.Stigma Associated with Disease Essay

Why It’s Important to be Stigma Free: Samia Shivon
It is important to be stigma free because it hurts the well-being and health of others.
Stigma views someone who possesses a mental illness or substance use disorder in a negative
way. Discriminating people for these issues makes them feel distressed because of the shame and
judgement being put on them. This results in people not obtaining equal opportunities as others
and being forced into silence. Being stigma free gives people who have issues a safe and
comfortable environment to seek help. The support they can get from others will help them deal
with the problems they face.
High School Winner for Project: Esme Lockwood
School & Grade: Montville Township High School (Montville, NJ), 11th Grade
Project: ‘No More’ – Esme Lockwood
I would like to create a drug-free initiative in schools, primarily in New Jersey, called the
‘No More’ project, rather than “say no to drugs” which ignites the ignorance of choice versus
illness. Fundamentally, ‘No More’ represents the gradual abolishment of specifically, heroin, and
the perpetrators who make money off of their victims. In this project, I would like to recruit
members who are or know someone battling heroin addiction. In school, I noticed many drugrelated topics are swept under the carpet and many people who have lost their lives to drugaddiction are not being properly remembered. With a strong team, we could implement afterschool therapy to create a safe-space for students who are too afraid to go to their parents or
counselors. Essentially, the ‘No More’ project will ensure improvement for those who are
struggling with any personal issues and alleviate stigmatized topics while including active Stigma Associated with Disease Essay
Why It’s Important to be Stigma Free: Esme Lockwood
Inevitably, most people in life have a clouded and judgmental perspective on stigmatized
issues. In my experience, I have learned to treat people who are going through personal addiction
with understanding rather than anger. Anger limits their self-improvement and encourages them
to only continue their addiction. To have a stigma, is to be ignorant, and humanity can never
improve if we treat every stigmatized issue with negative criticism. Ultimately, once we free
ourselves from judgement, we will liberate others to seek help and positively reconstruct our
understanding for future generations.

Stigma is when someone views you in a negative way because you have a distinguishing characteristic or personal trait that’s thought to be, or actually is, a disadvantage (a negative stereotype). Unfortunately, negative attitudes and beliefs toward people who have a mental health condition are common.

Stigma can lead to discrimination. Discrimination may be obvious and direct, such as someone making a negative remark about your mental illness or your treatment. Or it may be unintentional or subtle, such as someone avoiding you because the person assumes you could be unstable, violent or dangerous due to your mental illness. You may even judge yourself.

Some of the harmful effects of stigma can include:

Reluctance to seek help or treatment
Lack of understanding by family, friends, co-workers or others
Fewer opportunities for work, school or social activities or trouble finding housing
Bullying, physical violence or harassment
Health insurance that doesn’t adequately cover your mental illness treatment
The belief that you’ll never succeed at certain challenges or that you can’t improve your situation
Steps to cope with stigma
Here are some ways you can deal with stigma:Stigma Associated with Disease Essay

Get treatment. You may be reluctant to admit you need treatment. Don’t let the fear of being labeled with a mental illness prevent you from seeking help. Treatment can provide relief by identifying what’s wrong and reducing symptoms that interfere with your work and personal life.
Don’t let stigma create self-doubt and shame. Stigma doesn’t just come from others. You may mistakenly believe that your condition is a sign of personal weakness or that you should be able to control it without help. Seeking counseling, educating yourself about your condition and connecting with others who have mental illness can help you gain self-esteem and overcome destructive self-judgment.
Don’t isolate yourself. If you have a mental illness, you may be reluctant to tell anyone about it. Your family, friends, clergy or members of your community can offer you support if they know about your mental illness. Reach out to people you trust for the compassion, support and understanding you need.
Don’t equate yourself with your illness. You are not an illness. So instead of saying “I’m bipolar,” say “I have bipolar disorder.” Instead of calling yourself “a schizophrenic,” say “I have schizophrenia.”
Join a support group. Some local and national groups, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), offer local programs and internet resources that help reduce stigma by educating people who have mental illness, their families and the general public. Some state and federal agencies and programs, such as those that focus on vocational rehabilitation and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), offer support for people with mental illness.
Get help at school. If you or your child has a mental illness that affects learning, find out what plans and programs might help. Discrimination against students because of a mental illness is against the law, and educators at primary, secondary and college levels are required to accommodate students as best they can. Talk to teachers, professors or administrators about the best approach and resources. If a teacher doesn’t know about a student’s disability, it can lead to discrimination, barriers to learning and poor grades.Stigma Associated with Disease Essay
Speak out against stigma. Consider expressing your opinions at events, in letters to the editor or on the internet. It can help instill courage in others facing similar challenges and educate the public about mental illness.
Others’ judgments almost always stem from a lack of understanding rather than information based on facts. Learning to accept your condition and recognize what you need to do to treat it, seeking support, and helping educate others can make a big difference.

Social stigma in the context of health is the negative association between a person
or group of people who share certain characteristics and a specific disease. In an
outbreak, this may mean people are labelled, stereotyped, discriminated against,
treated separately, and/or experience loss of status because of a perceived link
with a disease.
Such treatment can negatively affect those with the disease, as well as their
caregivers, family, friends and communities. People who don’t have the disease but
share other characteristics with this group may also suffer from stigma.
The current COVID-19 outbreak has provoked social stigma and discriminatory
behaviours against people of certain ethnic backgrounds as well as anyone
perceived to have been in contact with the virus.

The level of stigma associated with COVID-19 is based on three main factors: 1) it is a disease that’s new
and for which there are still many unknowns; 2) we are often afraid of the unknown; and 3) it is easy to
associate that fear with ‘others’.
It is understandable that there is confusion, anxiety, and fear among the public. Unfortunately, these
factors are also fueling harmful stereotypes.Stigma Associated with Disease Essay
Stigma can undermine social cohesion and prompt possible social isolation of groups, which might
contribute to a situation where the virus is more, not less, likely to spread. This can result in more
severe health problems and difficulties controlling a disease outbreak.
Stigma can:
• Drive people to hide the illness to avoid discrimination
• Prevent people from seeking health care immediately
• Discourage them from adopting healthy behaviours

1 This checklist includes recommendations from Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs,
READY Network.
Updated 24 February 2020
Evidence clearly shows that stigma and fear around communicable diseases hamper the response. What
works is building trust in reliable health services and advice, showing empathy with those affected,
understanding the disease itself, and adopting effective, practical measures so people can help keep
themselves and their loved ones safe.
How we communicate about COVID-19 is critical in supporting people to take effective action to help
combat the disease and to avoid fuelling fear and stigma. An environment needs to be created in which
the disease and its impact can be discussed and addressed openly, honestly and effectively.
Here are some tips on how to address and avoid compounding, social stigma:
1. Words matter: dos and don’ts when talking about the new coronavirus (COVID-19)
2. Do your part: simple ideas to drive stigma away
3. Communication tips and messages.
When talking about coronavirus disease, certain words (i.e suspect case, isolation…) and language may
have a negative meaning for people and fuel stigmatizing attitudes. They can perpetuate existing negative
stereotypes or assumptions, strengthen false associations between the disease and other factors, create
widespread fear, or dehumanise those who have the disease.
This can drive people away from getting screened, tested and quarantined. We recommend a ‘peoplefirst’ language that respects and empowers people in all communication channels, including the media.Stigma Associated with Disease Essay
Words used in media are especially important, because these will shape the popular language and
communication on the new coronavirus (COVID-19). Negative reporting has the potential to influence
how people suspected to have the new coronavirus (COVID-19), patients and their families and affected
communities are perceived and treated.Stigma Associated with Disease Essay