Social Stigma on Mental Health and Its effects on Health Seeking Behaviors

Category: Health


The aim of this project is to examine social stigma on mental health, and its effects on health-seeking behaviors.

Thesis Statement

Social stigma has adverse effects on the health-seeking behaviors of mentally ill individuals.


According to Chronister (2013), social stigma about mental health has significant effects on health-seeking behaviors of affected individuals. When a person confesses to being mentally ill, people do not take that gently. Instead of comforting the said individual, they make negative remarks about the condition of the affected individual (Bahm and Forchuk, 2009). Primarily, they assume that the individual is dangerous and unstable due to his or her mental condition. Most of the patients with mental health problems are exposed to the harmful effects such as the difficulty of finding convenient housing, being discriminated at schools or work, and failure by their families to understand their condition (Hellen and Gitterman, 2011). On the other hand, health-seeking behaviors refer to the feeling of an individual of being free of the disease and regaining their health (Coon and Mitterer, 2014). A patient would love to regain his or her vigor and soundness in relation to mental health problems. Currently, there are no sufficient research studies in relation to the impacts of stigma on the health-seeking behaviors of individuals with mental health behaviors (Moses, 2010).

Significance of the Project

This study will significantly contribute to the medical field. Even though there is no significant research on the effects of stigma on mentally ill patients, this study will seek to feel this research gap. First, this project will seek to examine what kind of stigma patients with mental health suffer from. It will examine all tough scenarios the patient is forced to bear with. This helps the medical field in determining the best environment for such a patient. In this regard, the patient should have an ideal environment where he or she is not stigmatized. Second, the project will try to examine the effects of stigma on the health-seeking behaviors. Most of the patients are optimistic about regaining back their vigor and soundness. However, due to the stigma they face, it becomes difficult for them to regain back their health. Moreover, the significance of such a project to the society cannot be underestimated (Lisbon, 2011). For example, the society would be able to understand the pain the patient with mental health problems undergoes (Wrigley et al., 2005). Besides, they would be able to appreciate the effort that the patient input in trying to regain back his or her soundness. Therefore, the society will be able to avoid stigmatizing the patient and allow him or her recover quickly through support and creation of a conducive environment.

Presentational Format of the Project

I will present the project as a thesis. All my research activities and conclusions will be noted down on paper, which will be presented to the professor for approval. I do not intend to use either videos or audios as they are not necessary for this project.

Research Methodology

Quantitative research is required for this kind of project. It will help in measuring the opinions of the chosen sample. In this case, I will be able to quantify the data collected. Also, I would use qualitative research in order to further explore the findings of the research.

I am planning on conducting interviews with people in the local community. The interviews would be instrumental in providing sufficient information on how the society treats patients with mental health problems. Moreover, I would also interview nurses that take care of these patients. I expect them to provide information on the lives of the mentally ill patients.

I would also use the textual method of inquiry. In this regard, I will examine various historical records in regard to the subject of the project. There are various historical records; hence, it will not be a challenge to get adequate information concerning the experiences of the patients.

However, there are potential challenges that are expected in carrying out this project. For example, I expect some members of the community to refuse to share their opinions regarding how they treat the mentally ill patients. This is because they do not want to appear cold-hearted to the other society members. Also, it would be extremely difficult to acquire information from the patients since they may not be able to construct coherent and meaningful sentences. I would respond to this challenge by acquiring the information from the people who nurse those patients.

The research data will be collected through interviews and questionnaires. The data would be quantitative in order to determine the percentages of patients who are stigmatized. I will require 50 participants to fill in the questionnaires. This will improve the legitimacy of the project.

List of Resources

There are the resources that will be used to complete this project. Some of them will provide data required to fulfill the objectives of the project, while others are projects of a similar nature to this one. They include;


Bahm, A., & Forchuk, C. (January 01, 2009). Interlocking oppressions: the effect of a comorbid physical disability on perceived stigma and discrimination among mental health consumers in Canada. Health & Social Care in the Community, 17, 1, 63-70.

Coon, D., & Mitterer, J. O. (2014). Psychology: A journey. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

Chronister, J., Chou, C.-C., & Liao, H.-Y. (July 01, 2013). The Role Of Stigma Coping And Social Support In Mediating The Effect Of Societal Stigma On Internalized Stigma, Mental Health Recovery, And Quality Of Life Among People With Serious Mental Illness. Journal of Community Psychology, 41, 5, 582-600.

Heller, N. R., & Gitterman, A. (2011). Mental health and social problems: A social work perspective. London: Routledge.

Lindon, B. M. (2011). Advice from social referents and its relationship to the internalized stigma of mental illness: A study from the perspective of people with mental illnesses.

Moses, T. (August 01, 2010). Adolescent mental health consumers' self-stigma: associations with parents' and adolescents' illness perceptions and parental stigma. Journal of Community Psychology, 38, 6, 781-798.

Wrigley, S., Jackson, H., Judd, F., & Komiti, A. (June 01, 2005). Role of stigma and attitudes toward help-seeking from a general practitioner for mental health problems in a rural town. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 39, 6, 514-521.