Causes and Stigma

Various factors can enter into the development of a psychological condition - it may be genetically related, or be traceable to a certain event or events, but it may not be easy or possible to ultimately determine the origin of an individual's symptoms.  


What is important to know, however, is that one should not reject or hate themselves (or others) for who and how they are, and that there are many individuals and organizations in the Kalamazoo County area who are willing and eager to help, as well as provide those with or without a diagnosis the chance to help others.

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Stigma

Stigma and discrimination against individuals with psychological conditions is exceptionally harmful, resulting in social isolation, unemployment through bias, destroyed self-esteem, and can also be a major factor in an individual developing harmful habits (such as substance abuse and self-harm), and dying by suicide.  


Types of discrimination and stigma commonly applied to individuals with a mental health condition include: 


- questioning the soundness of an individual's judgement without cause 

- thinking those with psychological conditions are inherently violent or engage in criminal activity 


- believing one cannot care for themself, engage in a job, or contribute to their community 


- denying one is trying to recover


- that all individuals, regardless of their diagnosis, are or will be suicidal at some point


- expressing that psychological conditions do not actually exist


- that an individual who uses an insanity defense in court is simply trying to get away with a crime without punishment (which includes an automatic assumption of their guilt), and was in full control of their actions 

(the terms "mental defect" and "mental disease" can be found in the 'insanity defense' link; while still present in some legal situations, the phrases can be very offensive to those with a psychological diagnosis)


The most central aspect regarding stigma against individuals with psychological conditions, however, is what it targets - one's ability to choose and make rational decisions, specifically by questioning one's judgement and undermining their self-faith, either intentionally or unintentionally.  While some conditions significantly affect a person's faculties in such a way, it is far from the norm, and treatments for such do exist which can aid in many cases.  


In short, a psychological condition, as is further discussed on the What is a Psychological Condition? page, is about difficulty dealing with everyday life - not ceasing to be an individual, or becoming unworthy of respect, consideration, and trust, nor being violent or suicidal.

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