According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 450 million people worldwide currently experience a mental disorder, making it one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. Unfortunately, through media and common misconceptions, mental illness is surrounded by a lot of stigma, which seeps into areas of daily life for many. Before we begin exploring the damages of stereotypes, let’s explore American society’s views. In general, there are 3 main instances of misconceptions: viewing those with mental illness as irresponsible, dangerous, or in need to be cared for due to lack of competence. A 2013 systematic literature review published in the Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research found the following beliefs by American society of those with mental illness:

  • Those with mental illness being dangerous to themselves and others
  • Adults with schizophrenia, depression, alcohol dependence, or drug dependence as being more violent than others
  • Adults with an addiction as more dangerous than someone in a wheelchair
  • Individuals with a mental illness are less competent to make treatment-related and financial decisions

While these are just a few stigmas surrounding mental illness, they are nonetheless painful for those who defy these “expectations”. Stereotypes tend to place a boundary, or a limit, to a person’s potential without them getting the chance to prove themselves – and others – otherwise. Many people with a mental illness report having trouble finding work and obtaining promotions, social isolation, inadequate care in treatment due to misunderstandings, and more. The tension experienced from stigma may be shown through a person’s tone, facial expressions, gestures, and overall body language. This can worsen symptoms for many people with a mental illness, and some come to internalize hateful feelings.

What is the best way that we can overcome these harsh, unrealistic views? To begin asking the people who live those experiences to get factual, first-hand information. Rather than basing a specific situation as a generalized account for all people with mental illness, we must realize that each person is different, and that mental illness affects each person differently. There is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to mental illness.

If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness and/or an addiction, make the decision to seek help today. Find a reputable treatment center with the best healthcare team – people who truly care about what you are going through. Don’t wait any longer.

Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.



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If you are ready to pursue a life committed to your health, relationships and emotional well-being, you have a team that is willing to walk alongside you and restore hope for your future. Let us help you in taking the first step in your journey to recovery.

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