Hanna Voitovych
Bogomolets National Medical University
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psychological health

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The important question of our work is whether problem of stigma and its displays either concerns concept of mental illness in general or differs depending on certain diagnoses and/or dysfunctional level. Subject of research interest in our work is why people with mental health problems experience problems of proper access to treatment programs. Stigmatization as an integral process determined and outlined by foursocial-cognitive processes: social signals, stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination. Stigma harms people publicly labeled "mentally sick" in a few aspects. Stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination actually rob (in sense of social realization) people with such labels, decreasing their chances and possibilities that are important for the achievement of key life aims. Negative influence of public stigma can also be found in system of public healthcare: people labeled mentally sick have less probability to receive all available services compared to non-stigmatized patients. Researches show that people with considerable stigmatization (based on race, sexual orientation, mental conditions and so on) can choose strategy to avoid such harm through concealment of stigmatizing feature. There is a inverse relationship between public stigma and seeking for medical and/or social help. People also can avoid stigma of mental disease because of its potentially negative influence one’s individual self. Living in society where culture is full of stigmatizing images, norms and attitudes, people with mental diseases can suffer from decreased self-appraisal, lower self-efficacy, uncertainty in one’s own future and others like that. Stigma reduction programs must first of all minimize forms behaviors that work as obstacles to help seeking. Stigma as social cognitive construct is only one of several stigmatization factors that worsen chances to look for and receive proper medical care for people with mental conditions; other interpersonal, economic and cultural factors also influence use of professional medical services.


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