The Stigma of Mental Health Therapy

By Veronica Oquendo

Those with psychological disorders have to suffer more than just the symptoms of their diagnoses. They also deal with societal negativity that are associated with someone who have a mental disorder, for example social disapproval and disgrace. Less than half of adults needing treatment delay it for their mental disorder for this reason, or do not seek treatment at all. The stigma creates unfair stereotypes and prejudices that cause discrimination in different facets of life including: the workplace, housing access, universities/school, family, and friends. One can be bullied, denied acceptance, ostracized, have limited opportunities, and be harassed. This also leads to self-stigma which is internalized negative attitudes and shame that people with mental illness have about their own condition.

There are ways to battle the stigma of mental illness:

  • Get treatment
  • Talk openly about mental health
  • Don’t isolate or feel shame
  • Join a Support Group
  • Choose empowerment over shame
  • Call out others perpetuating mental health stigma

Although, there is far less stigma in Western countries among the educated, there is still progress to be made. It is suggested in review by The Lancet that to reduce stigma  requires “large-scale contact-based interventions in high-income countries—involving service users as a core element, with sustained funding and engagement.” Early intervention with children and teenagers through an educational setting would also be helpful. Most importantly, access to mental healthcare as well as an increase in overall quality of treatment would be most beneficial.

If you or someone you know needs quality mental health therapy to help reduce the consequences of associated stigma, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit


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