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Stigmas of Mental Illness

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This paper investigates the literature that is available on social psychology, with regards to stigmas of mental illness. According to the literature, is the science of people’s behaviors, feelings as well as thoughts and the study of how they are influenced by imagined or the actual presence of people around.

The scientific aspect implies that there is some investigative work that is involved in the study. Thus, human thoughts and behavior become variables that are measured in determining people’s psychological characters. The fundamental idea is that the behavioral characteristics are significantly influenced by the surrounding, whether there is someone around or not. It’s basically an attempt to conform to the social norms so that one is not considered deviant. The social psychological concepts or theories are quite diverse in nature. They can include psychoanalysis, cognitive theory, symbolic interaction, and behaviorism (Forgas 1981).

I had initially thought mental illnesses were common among the all social groups and not only the black community. However, this belief changed completely after my internship in the relatively wealthy community. The people who came for treatment in the facility were mostly from the low income bracket or blacks. It made me wonder whether poverty triggered these diseases, particularly mental illnesses or if there was any correlation. The worst part of it is the fact that their family members who should have been around neglected the most of the time. This brought up the idea of social psychology, especially with regards to what their families could be thinking of them to the extent of ignoring them. Thus, I opted to treat each case as unique in its own way by getting the patients’ background and the actual perception of their families. Later on, it occurred to me that most of the patients were struggling with social neglect, mental abuse or social violence. For some, it was overprotection by their families thereby, instilling in them a strong feeling of fear (Greenwood 1991).

It was due to this realization that I decided that putting them in different therapies would help to get the best way to deal with their problems. For some, group therapy worked best as they were immediately able to fit into various groups and behave normally thereafter. For instance, they got to listen to their colleagues, played with them and they certainly felt enthusiastic about being part of the groups. In the end, most patients resisted attempts to get them out of the hospital when the therapy was deemed complete. Indeed, a significant number of them got to reveal their side of the story and it was obvious their families were the problem. For instance, an adult who has previously worked and provided for his or her young ones would certainly feel oppressed when he or she is not allowed to make independent choices. Basically, the feeling that the society around them considered them little babies caused them all their mental illness. Worse still, the same society was quick to discriminate them on the same basis, thereby causing them social stigma (Forgas 1981).

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