Negative Stigmas of Mental Illness

Mental Illness and Stigmas

Emily Ramos

When a person is born with a deformity, the source of their disability is obvious. But when someone is mentally ill, there are no obvious physical indicators for their behavior.  A lot of the times people pity those with a clear disadvantage and fear the behavior of those with a mental illness. This can cause someone suffering from a mental health illness to live in fear of embarrassment and humiliation if their condition is found out.

A common misconception people have about those who suffer from mental illness is that they are unpredictable like a ticking time bomb, ready to explode at any second. This portrayal comes from the fact that many who go on shooting sprees happen to also suffer from mental illness. This is a false depiction because not all patients act out in violence; same as how not everyone cries when they are mourning the loss of a loved one.

We have to remember to not stereotype everyone with the same diagnoses as being the same. The 2012 Aurora movie theater shooter, James Holmes, showed signs of depression since middle school and attempted suicide at the age of eleven. What people don’t know is that he also was obsessed with the idea of killing people which led to his violent outburst. Most individuals with depression don’t exhibit the desire to inflict pain on others.

The pressure that a negative stigma creates on an individual in addition to the weight of their illness can be overwhelming and unbearable. The best way to reduce mental health stigmas is to raise awareness and enforce discussions about mental health. Millions of people suffer from mental disorders and just as we treat those who suffer from physical illness with care and emotional support we need to provide care and emotional support to mental health patients.

If you or a person you know is struggling with mental illness, it may be beneficial to contact a mental health professional and receive therapy. The psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists at Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services can help. Contact the Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920. Visit for more information.

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