Why is mental health stigmatised?

I received this by email this morning, “I don’t understand why mental health is stigmatised. We all have it to varying degrees and its part of what makes us human.”

I responded, “Some say that mental illness is not contagious but it can be. Many people seem to want to or need to stay away from the mentally ill. Is this what drives stigma?”

Then I had this response, which I feel worth sharing:

“Yes,  most likely that’s all it is. Fear. People feel averse to things they don’t understand and are afraid. Many like to feel they are immune and superior to it and those who feel vulnerable might want to protect themselves from any impact or association. These people are all quite emotionally numb and could themselves thereby be defined as mentally ill for the lack of ability to associate with human emotion and experience.” Di Wright

Stigma can be horrible, while shame, which I’ve heard described as, ‘the other side of stigma’ may do even more harm to those of us who have been described as mentally unwell.

I welcome any polite comments about the above.


About Roger Smith (in the UK)
Helping you to think about bipolar disorder in different ways so that we can eliminate the disorder and eventually eliminate the need for this diagnosis.

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