Running head: STIGMA 1
SOWK 6090 Week 1 Assignment
There are various ways in which s'gma can in(uence as well as cause harm to an
individual. According to Corrigan and Rao, there are three di,erent ways in which s'gma can
harm individuals with mental illness which are label avoidance, blocked life goals, as well as self-
s'gma. (Corrigan & Rao 2012). In regards to label avoidance, whenever an individual decides to
seek treatment either two things will and can happen, the individual will not engage in treatment
or the individual will not complete treatment in its en'rety. A perfect example of this would be
individuals that are diagnosed with having schizophrenia. As stated, “many people choose not to
pursue mental health services because they do not want to be labeled as a “mental pa'ent” or
su,er the prejudice and discrimina'on that the label entails” (Corrigan and Rao 2012).
Blocked life goals can be related to having various opportuni'es as well as having the
ability to access those opportuni'es because of them from su,ering and or coping with a serious
mental illness. Self-s'gma refers to “people with mental illness who live in a society that widely
endorses s'gma'zing ideas that may internalize these ideas and believe that they are less valued
because of their psychiatric disorder (Corrigan and Rao 2012). In regards to my race, which is
Black, and my cultural background which is West African, the s'gma regarding mental health
tends to be a nega've one with nega've stereotypes.
Many individuals may :nd themselves in situa'ons in which their family and friends are
isola'ng themselves and in other cases discrimina'ng against them. According to Corrigan and
Rao, s'gma includes four di,erent stages; awareness, agreement, applica'on, as well as harm.
During the awareness stage, the individual is made aware of the public s'gma associated with
his/her diagnosis. During the agreement stage, the client then has an agreement to the s'gma
associated with his/her mental health diagnosis and current mental status. With the applica'on
stage, the client will apply the s'gma in a nega've light to his/her self which in turn can cause
him/her to feel depressed. Harm which is the last stage is associated with the client having very
low self-esteem as well as a sense of low self-worth. In this situa'on, cogni've behavioral therapy
(CBT) would be highly recommended and needed.
CBT allows the client to be able to make acknowledgment of the di,erence the lies
between self-sabotaging behavior and self-will. Using CBT when in a group se@ng can assist with
being able to reduce nega've self-talk and thoughts as well as being able to bring about more
posi'vity within the client while assis'ng him/her with pu@ng an end to and nega've thoughts
as well as self-s'gma. “Delle su,ered from an anxiety aAack from dealing with life stressors and
su,ered the loss of seven family members in one month” (TED Conference LLC 2017). In addi'on
to Delle experiencing these things, he also experienced a period in which he baAled depression
aEer learning that a close and good friend of his was recently diagnosed with schizophrenia. Delle
made men'oned of experiencing mul'ple days in which he would have the ability to work, then
not want to work, and would :nd him laying and crying in bed all day. Delle laying and crying in
bed all day can be early indicators that he could be possibly in what is known as the isola'on
stage of recovery. When Delle was asked by a medical professional about services to seek mental
health services he was a bit reluctant and apprehensive to do so. Delle felt a sense of shame that
he needed assistance in regards to his
current mental health state. Delle also felt guilt. Delle felt this sense of guilt because with him
being a man in an African home, he was expected to be a man and head of the home. In the
African culture, men are seen and viewed as leaders and alpha males and are expected to also
display their strength and masculinity. Delle can also be placed in the secrecy stages of recovery
as well. The reality of the dilemma that Delle is currently experiencing was that he was self-
s'gma'zing himself. Delle realized and saw that his own issues weren’t that big when compared
to the issues of others. It can be considered that Delle’s personal life perspec've was what
challenged and pushed him to seek assistance in regards to what his depression was and what it
meant to him. Delle made men'on of individuals with mental health diagnoses being viewed as
individuals who were either on drugs, “psycho” or was becoming a “mad man” running around
while showing their genitals.
Corrigan, P. W., & Rao, D. (2012). On the Self-Stigma of Mental Illness: Stages, Disclosure, and
Strategies for Change. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 57(8), 464–469.
TED Conferences, LLC (Producer). (2017). There’s no shame in taking care of your
Mental health [Video file].