There can be a number of reasons that a person who suffers from mental illness might want to avoid seeking treatment, and for many disorders such as psychosis, bipolar disorder, major depression and anxiety disorders, delaying or avoiding care is associated with negative outcomes.
Looking to understand what keeps the purported 75 percent of people with a mental illness (in Europe and the US) from receiving treatment, Professor Graham Thornicroft of King’s College London and his research team gathered data from 144 studies, including over 90,000 participants worldwide and examined the effect of stigma on how individuals with mental health problems accessed and engaged with formal services, including GPs, specialist mental health services,mocke and talking therapies.
Out of ten barriers to treatment, stigma was ranked as the fourth highest. Respondents endorsed two main types of stigma: ‘treatment stigma’ (the stigma associated with using mental health services or receiving mental health treatment) and ‘internalized stigma’ (shame, embarrassment). Other important barriers preventing people from seeking help were fear of disclosing a mental health condition; concerns about confidentiality; wanting to handle the problem on one’s own; and not believing they needed help (Clement et al., 2016).
Further, the study identified certain groups for whom stigma had an even stronger effect on preventing people from seeking help. These included young people, men, people from minority ethnic groups, those in the military, and health professionals.
“We now have clear evidence that stigma has a toxic effect by preventing people from seeking help for mental health problems. The profound reluctance to be “a mental health patient” means people will put off seeing a doctor for months, years, or even at all, which in turn delays their recovery” (Thornicroft, 2016).
Course excerpt from:
Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that explores the stigmas around mental illness and provides effective strategies to overcome them.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines mental illness stigma as “a range of negative attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors about mental and substance use disorders.” Mental health and substance use disorders are prevalent and among the most highly stigmatized health conditions in the United States, and they remain barriers to full participation in society in areas as basic as education, housing, and employment.
This course will explore the stigmas surrounding mental illness and provide effective strategies clinicians can use to create a therapeutic environment where clients can evaluate their attitudes, beliefs, and fears about mental illness, and ultimately find ways to overcome them. We will explore the ways in which mental illness stigmas shape our beliefs, decisions, and lives. We will then look at specific stigmas about mental illness, from the fear of being seen as crazy to the fear of losing cognitive function and the ways in which we seek to avoid these fears. We will then look at targeted strategies that, you, the clinician, can use to create a therapeutic alliance where change and healing can overcome the client’s fears. Lastly, we will look at the specific exercises you can use in session with your clients to help them address and overcome their biases and stigmas about mental illness. Course #21-24 | 2018 | 35 pages | 15 posttest questions
Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!
Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).
Target Audience: Psychologists, Counselors, Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapist (MFTs), Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), Occupational Therapists (OTs), Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs), School Psychologists, and Teachers