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


Mental Illness Stigma Still Exists

By: Gisela Serrano

The sad reality is that a stigma on mental illness still exists, although we’d like to think that it has been minimized significantly. There are several people with a voice, including celebrities, who advocate and speak on the importance of mental health; some even give light to their own mental health issues. However, stigma on mental health illnesses is still very much alive today and can prevent many people from seeking professional help, which can be beneficial to them. Ignorance and a lack of education also play a major role in preventing people from reaching out for the help they need. People who are uneducated may not be familiar with the options they have when seeking professional providers and thus limit themselves the access of qualified providers who have more clinical experience and expertise. For this reason, they consult professionals who may not necessarily specialize in the condition from which they are suffering from. People with low income may also not be able to afford high quality care. As a result of these factors, many people usually shy away from searching for help as they unfortunately feel shame and embarrassment.

Overall, many people fear that they would be the subject of criticism, lose friendships and relationships, and lose their jobs if they were to confide in someone about their mental health state. According to David B. Feldman Ph.D., in his post “The Tragedy of Mental Illness Stigma” on Psychology Today, “in half of U.S. states, admitting to a history of mental illness can lead to loss of a driver’s license, inability to serve on a jury or run for office, or even potentially loss of custody of a child.” It makes absolute sense why some people would be hesitant about speaking out or seeking the help they need. The bottom line here is: there is nothing wrong with accepting that you need help – whatever your situation or problem may be. Recognizing that you need help is the first healthy step you can take to achieving mental health and overall taking care of yourself. Stop waiting decades to search for help or receive care. Many mental health illnesses are treatable and for good reasons should not be put off. Talking to your friends and family is also an important step you should consider taking as it can provide you the strong moral support system you need. The sooner you learn to avoid and disregard mental illness stigma, the quicker you can be on the road to recovery.