Understanding What Causes Stigma

By Laura Greenstein | Dec. 28, 2016, NAMI.org Blog

We often discuss how much of a problem stigma is and how much it impacts those who live with mental illness. However, it is somewhat rare for us to focus on the foundation stigma roots itself in. But this is something discussed in detail in Living and Working with Schizophrenia, a book by Dr. Marjorie Baldwin. She explains five possible components that may be leading to the persistent and institutionalized problem of stigma.

There are so many people who deal with stigma every day, in every aspect of life. People like Alan, a 30-year-old accountant who lives with bipolar disorder. And if we understand stigma’s roots, we may better understand how to improve the lives of people like Alan.

  1. Responsibility

Alan sits at a bar with his friend Jack. Alan slumps in his stool and stares at his half-empty beer bottle. Jack sighs loudly as he looks around the room.

After a long silence, Jack finally says, “Remember senior year when we never slept? We were always doing something—partying, playing basketball, occasionally going to class?”

“Yeah, I remember.” 

“Is there any chance of you being like that again? Lately it seems like the life’s been sucked out of you.”

“I don’t know.”

“Can’t you just snap out of it?”

Too often, those living with mental illness are held responsible for their conditions—as if they are intentionally selecting a life with symptoms, rather than without. When people believe that an individual has a choice in this matter—that they are in control of their mental illness, they are then blamed for their symptoms. When this happens, they receive little sympathy and more stigma.

  1. Uncertainty 

If a person’s condition is uncertain (as in it is unlikely to be improved), they are more likely to be stigmatized and avoided by friends and family. The more hopeless the situation seems, the more it is viewed as a waste of time.

I can’t do this anymore,” Alan’s wife blurts out at the dinner table.

Alan looks up from his plate and stares at her with a puzzled expression.

“I want a divorce” she continues. “I know things aren’t easy for you… But I just can’t bare another silent meal, another loveless embrace, another cycle of you going from making me breakfast at 3 a.m. because you can’t sleep to sleeping through my birthday. I hate that I can’t help you—this whole thing just feels endless.”

  1. Unpredictability

While uncertainty focuses on the long-term outcomes of someone living with a mental health condition, unpredictability focuses on short-term outcomes. Those who experience symptoms are sometimes perceived as unpredictable and erratic on a day-to-day basis. Unjust social distance may occur because of this.

Alan’s two friends from college, Jack and Dan, are sitting on the couch at Dan’s house, watching basketball.

“I’m telling you…he’s different than he used to be,” Jack tells Dan.

“Different how?”

“I just never know what’s going to happen when I meet up with him. Sometimes he’s fine, but sometimes he acts really weird…” Jack suggests. “Last time I saw him, he kept having to get up from the bar to pace around the room.”

“What? That’s really strange.”

“Yeah. I’m honestly trying not to hang out with him anymore.  It’s embarrassing when he does stuff like that.”

  1. Incompetence

Unfortunately, people view those living with mental health conditions as unable (or too incompetent) to make rational decisions. This is what leads to stigmatizing laws and practices that prohibit individuals living with mental illness from having the same rights and opportunities as other people—such as the right to hold office, the right to vote, the right to serve on a jury, etc.

Alan sits in his cubicle, plugging numbers into a spreadsheet.

His boss, Bill, walks over to him apprehensively. Bill pulls up a chair, rests his elbows onto his thighs and puts his face in his hands. “I’m sorry to tell you this, but we had to go with someone else for the account manager position.”

Alan’s face sinks as he pauses to take this in.

After a breath, he slowly responds, “I don’t understand… I’ve worked here for five years. My job is leading up to this position.”

“It seems that some of the higher-ups don’t see you as management material.”

  1. Dangerousness

Alan’s brow furrowed, as he turned to Bill and said, “I’m frustrated to hear this. I think this decision is unfounded. I have diligently worked for this for five years!”  

“I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do.” Bill says as he quickly stands up and backs away from Alan like a scared child coming across a snake. He scurries to his office and closes the door.

Dangerousness is when unpredictability manifests into fear. People often avoid those with mental illness because they are afraid of random acts of violence.

But the truth is, we all know someone like Alan. And more often than not, he’s not dangerous or unpredictable or incompetent or hopeless. He’s just Alan.

Alan—and the millions of people who go through similar struggles—needs people to be more understanding, compassionate and educated about mental illness. He needs people to recognize that his symptoms are not his fault. He needs people to believe that recovery is possible. He needs people to understand that having mental illness does not mean he is any less competent or intelligent than any other person. He needs people to know that living with a mental health condition does not automatically make him violent.

Alan needs people to see him, not his condition.

Can you?

 

To help us continue the fight against stigma,
share your #IStopStigmaBy story & support NAMI

– See more at: http://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/December-2016/Understanding-What-Causes-Stigma#sthash.f0934cXn.dpuf

0 Comments

  1. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    You mentioned it very well!

    robin williams when bush takes viagra buy viagra on the web insurance
    buy viagra online
    viagra interaction with muscle relaxant – https://genericviagrantx.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  2. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    Nicely put. With thanks.

    canadian viagra pharmacy rockstar viagra
    viagra for sale uk
    viagra invented by mistake – https://genericviagrarcp.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  3. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    Nicely put. Many thanks!

    longer sex with viagra viagra insurance coverage health
    viagra online
    viagra on line purchase – https://genericviagrarcp.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  4. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    Good content. Cheers!

    viagra online online what does generic viagra look like
    buy viagra online
    affects of viagra – https://genericviagrarcp.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  5. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    Beneficial facts. With thanks.

    viagra and watermelon usfda patent expiration date for viagra
    buy viagra online
    viagra and bata blockers – https://genericviagrantx.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  6. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    Kudos! Useful information!

    viagra d viagra paperweight
    viagra pills
    united states classaction on viagra – https://genericviagrarcp.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  7. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019
  8. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    Wonderful content, Thanks.

    clonazepam and viagra buying viagra online uk
    buy generic viagra
    viagra stuffy nose – https://genericviagrantx.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  9. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    You actually revealed this really well.

    10-minute viagra viagra in mexico cabos san lucas
    viagra for sale uk
    t 84 viagra – https://genericviagramsl.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  10. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    Regards, Excellent information.

    las vegas about kamagra viagra las vegas kamagra viagra about
    viagra 100mg
    effects side viagra woman – https://genericviagrarcp.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  11. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    You suggested it adequately.

    edinburgh find search free viagra sites age recommend for taking viagra
    viagra generic
    free viagra videos – https://genericviagramsl.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  12. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    Thanks. I value it!

    viagra k pes is viagra pro
    viagra generic
    viva viagra commercial country singer – https://genericviagramsl.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  13. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    Good material, With thanks!

    buy cheao cgeap kamagra uk viagra viagra erection after coming
    viagra 100mg
    viagra pills uk – https://genericviagrantx.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  14. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    Cheers, Loads of write ups!

    how to buy viagra in ireland viagra does not work
    viagra for women
    viagra online purchase – https://genericviagrarcp.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  15. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    You actually reported that perfectly.

    sophiea viagra can viagra be taken by women
    cheap viagra
    levitra and cialis and viagra – https://genericviagramsl.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  16. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    Thank you! I enjoy this.

    side affects viagra cheapest uk supplier viagra
    buy generic viagra
    chinese red viagra buy – https://genericviagrarcp.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  17. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    Good information. Cheers.

    viagra and coke viagra user forum
    generic viagra
    can you take viagra and levitra – https://genericviagrantx.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  18. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    Thank you! Good stuff!

    kris kardashian otc viagra edinburgh 17 find viagra sites pages
    viagra generic
    viagra cost compare – https://genericviagramsl.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  19. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    Incredible a good deal of superb material.

    how by viagra viagra studys in rats
    viagra without a doctors prescription
    viagra celias – https://genericviagrarcp.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  20. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    With thanks. I value it!

    viagra increases penis size viewtopic viagra
    viagra pills
    guaranteed cheapest viagra – https://genericviagrantx.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  21. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    This is nicely expressed. !

    people who smoke viagra viagra side effects in women
    generic viagra online
    natural viagra manfucturer – https://genericviagrantx.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  22. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    Regards! Awesome stuff!

    what other drug apart from viagra benign prostatic hyperplasia and viagra
    generic viagra 100mg
    can you purchase viagra in mexico – https://genericviagramsl.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  23. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019
  24. Reply
    LarryNal July 25, 2019

    Valuable material. Thanks.

    generic viagra uk europe viagra free sites computer edinburgh
    viagra pills
    water soluble viagra – https://genericviagrarcp.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  25. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    Thank you. Helpful stuff!

    best viagra alternative buy cheap viagra soft
    buy viagra
    viagra frm canada – https://genericviagramsl.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  26. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    You’ve made your point extremely well!.

    mixing viagra and cocaine viagra viagra generics
    viagra without a doctor prescription
    compare levitra viagra cialis – https://genericviagrarcp.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  27. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    You actually suggested that perfectly!

    chemical ingredients of viagra viagra online uk prescrition
    buy viagra online
    viagra cialis euros puntagorda – https://genericviagrarcp.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  28. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    Regards. Excellent information!

    uprima viagra cialis viagra insomnia
    generic viagra online
    generic cialis viagra – https://genericviagrantx.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  29. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    You said it very well..

    green dot viagra board find viagra free edinburgh search
    viagra for women
    com viagra – https://genericviagramsl.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  30. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    Appreciate it, A good amount of forum posts.

    viagra commercials viagra pharmaceutical company
    viagra without a doctors prescription
    ciscount viagra – https://genericviagramsl.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  31. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    Very well voiced truly! !

    buy viagra online no prescription viagra alternetives
    viagra generic
    viagra without prescription in uk – https://genericviagramsl.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  32. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    You definitely made the point.

    generic viagra mexico viagra corner oak park
    viagra pills
    search viagra free sites find computer – https://genericviagramsl.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  33. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    Wonderful write ups. With thanks!

    walmart female viagra how many viagra pills per carton
    buy viagra online
    ladys viagra – https://genericviagramsl.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  34. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    Regards! I appreciate it!

    watermelon viagra viagra pill spliting
    generic viagra 100mg
    alpha blockers viagra – https://genericviagrarcp.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  35. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    Whoa a good deal of wonderful data.

    vision problems resulting from viagra oakville cro viagra
    viagra for women
    bose wave radio viagra – https://genericviagrarcp.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  36. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    Appreciate it. Numerous information!

    alternative viagra uses viagra and uric acid stones
    viagra 100mg
    conterfeit viagra online – https://genericviagrantx.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  37. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    Fine information. Many thanks.

    mens health natural viagra milf stories viagra
    viagra pills
    viagra and nitrates in th er – https://genericviagramsl.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  38. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    This is nicely said. .

    viagra and hypertension uk viagra without prescription
    viagra generic
    time magazine rush limbaugh viagra – https://genericviagrantx.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  39. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    You have made your point.

    viagra multiple acts viagra in dubai
    viagra without a doctor prescription
    viagra ocular side effects – https://genericviagrantx.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  40. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    You actually mentioned it wonderfully.

    geneic viagra viagra capsule
    buy viagra online
    cialis levitra link viagra blogspot com – https://genericviagrarcp.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  41. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    You said it nicely..

    viagra made make up buy drug generic generic online viagra
    viagra for sale uk
    natural viagra nitric oxide – https://genericviagramsl.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  42. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    Amazing write ups, Many thanks.

    how to get viagra and norway 25 mg viagra
    viagra for women
    viagra to buy – https://genericviagrarcp.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  43. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    With thanks! Numerous data.

    white rabbit and viagra best online pharmacy ultram viagra renova
    viagra online
    viagra clones – https://genericviagramsl.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  44. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    With thanks, Terrific stuff!

    viagra patient presidential viagra pic
    viagra 100mg
    impotent because nervous viagra – https://genericviagrarcp.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  45. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    Thanks, Wonderful information!

    viagra cialis kamagra open label viagra study comment
    viagra pills
    viagra picture – https://genericviagrantx.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  46. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    Nicely put. Thanks!

    viagra causing headches genuine viagra without prescription
    generic viagra
    cheapest 100 viagra uk – https://genericviagrarcp.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  47. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    You suggested it fantastically!

    where to get viagra or cialis oral viagra kamagra
    viagra 100mg
    combining viagra and cialis – https://genericviagramsl.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  48. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    Kudos. I enjoy it!

    english viagra viagra explained
    generic viagra
    viagra cheapest online – https://genericviagrantx.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  49. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    This is nicely put. !

    viagra addiction buy viagra with paypal
    viagra without a doctor prescription
    discount brand viagra pfizer – https://genericviagrarcp.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  50. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    Thank you, A lot of knowledge.

    viagra works best erectile viagra pills online
    generic viagra 100mg
    does viagra prolong sex – https://genericviagramsl.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  51. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    This is nicely expressed. .

    viagra for women trial pak las vegas caverta veega viagra generic
    buy viagra online
    matt lauer as the amazons viagra – https://genericviagrantx.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

  52. Reply
    LarryNal July 26, 2019

    Nicely put. Thanks a lot!

    better erection cialis or viagra compare viagra and levitra
    viagra 100mg
    what can make viagra stronger – https://genericviagrantx.com

    Geraldenlip
    Dwaynevaf
    KevinpeazY

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *