Stigma…and complete ignorance

by Emma

Stigma? How does it really affect us? Is stigma always external or can it also be an internal experience? So stigma is basically what people negatively perceive and associate with something else… right? WRONG! Stigma is an experience. It is a feeling. It is a form of social exclusion. It is bullying at its worst. To unappreciate another being and to create feelings of guilt, shame and low self worth is simply cruel. It is inhumane and ungodly. What offers an irony to this is that usually the ones guilty of stigma are ignorant and have no actual knowledge of the subject matter. They simply perceive. ..or continue the chain of learnt behaviour. A sad fact. Let’s consider mental health. 1 in 4 of us (everyone included) WILL suffer mental health problems in their lifetime. That is 25% of the population. That is alot. Yet.. stigma surrounds this whole subject matter. ‘You have mental health problems?… oh so you’re crazy?’ ‘Loon’ ‘Crack pot’ ‘Nutter’ Seriously what is wrong with us? I perceive that the only ‘loons’ are the one’s throwing the ignorance. The ones who are obviously too inward to develop their tiny brains with real and useful knowledge. Knowledge that may show compassion. Learning which could help in supporting and aiding these vulnerable individuals on the right road to recovery. Yes I do feel strongly. Stigma creates shame. Shame creates low self – esteem. Low self – esteem feeds depression. Get my point. Stigma is an external experience which enhances the negative internal experience. It is a chain reaction. But it doesn’t stop there. Stigma is associated with negative discrimination in regards to developed values, which also unfortunately affects our perspectives on sexual orientation, culture and gender. This is not necessarily negative behaviour aimed at an individual, but instead affects our expectation and the equality they receive. Below is a paper I have written to reflect the issue of gender in children accessing mental health. I welcome any views. Let’s continue our developing journey, let’s feed our optimism and let’s give stigma a thumbs down!