Stigma and Discrimination

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; this  

- 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 disease" and "mental defect" 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 dire events causes by individuals, psychological conditions are often immediately presumed to be the reason that individuals engage in harmful activity, even if no evidence is present to indicate such; it is important to note that having a psychological condition and violence are not synonymous.

In short, a psychological condition, as is further discussed on the What is... page, is about difficulty dealing with everyday life - not ceasing to be an individual, or becoming unworthy of respect, consideration, and care.

For screen readers: an image of an Asian child crying at her school desk alone with her face covered