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Gabrielle Allen

Professor Pleydell

English 101, Section BL08

8 October 2017

The Soon to be of Self-Stigma

The mental illness subject attracted my attention initially because I was curious to see the

what researchers had discovered, not only for the patients, but for myself. As a person who has

suffered from several mental illnesses, I am significantly interested in the topic because I do not

want people to experience what I did. The constant task of popping pills that ultimately do not

give you the results one is looking for is entirely frustrating. This led me to research more in

depth on alternative options that may at first seem unconventional, but eventually rewarding. My

research introduced me to some new and exciting procedures known as electro therapy,

ketamine, repetitive trans-cranial magnetic stimulation, deep brain stimulation, and many more

approaches that may be extremely beneficial to a patient. These new treatments raise a lot of

concern because the involve the functions of the brain, its triggers, and a patients moodiness.

However, the main reason why many are anxious about the new designed attacks are because of

the issue of self-stigma. Not only do patients have to battle their mind disorder, but they also

have to carry the burden of self-stigma. Self-stigma is when one feels stereotyped by the outside

world. It is an internal feeling of shame that they connect to their disorder. The increasing

numbers of adults and children stressed with their own self-stigma is threatening the

advancement of mental health. Therefore, this internal battle, that many with mental illness

experience, raises the question as to whether these new treatments ultimately are reducing or
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enhancing the self-stigma of mental illnesses? Furthermore, are they preventing mind disorders

from occurring at all?

Ava T. Casado, a researcher who acknowledges the aspect of self-stigma, views it as a

hinder to the process of attempting to cure a mental illness. Casado thinks it is impossible for

scientists to operate around this weighty factor. Ava T. Casado, a member of the Department of

Psychology at Yale University, elaborates on the self-stigma factor in her academic journal

titled, Reducing the Stigma of Mental Illness: Current Approaches and Future Directions. She

opens her piece by urging the importance of recognizing the stigma behind mental health,

Addressing the conceptual challenges in mental illness stigma research can help to improve

interventions and better serve persons suffering from psychological distress (Casado 306).

Casado boldly proclaims that any new treatment will not be successful unless it confronts the

issue of self-stigma as well. She supports her argument by providing three steps to practice,

which include education, protest, and contact. However, Casado implores the significance of

contact and states that it is the effective towards the reduction of stigma. The first step,

education, eliminates any misconceptions or misinformation because that is how most

stereotypes begin. The education intervention is beneficial because it provides counter-

stereotypes and gives valid information on a certain mental illness and its stigma. The next step

is protest which is usually a visual presentation with a strong message and a list of consequences

if the demands are not met. Casado cosigns with protests because they invite a large portion of

people to participate, while the others get informed. On the other hand, some researchers have

viewed the practice of protest to aggravate stigma of mental illnesses. Therefore, Casado urges

the final step of contact because it has proven to be the most productive in its efforts to reduce

mental illness and its stigma. Contact implies having a real interaction with someone with a
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mental illness. The interaction allows the person to feel discomfort with their stereotypes,

eventually causing them view mental illnesses in a different light. Casado three-step plan is an

example of how mental illnesses are being examined today, which contradicts many other

approaches who are more focused on how they will be viewed tomorrow.

On a separate note, non-standard procedures are being researched and performed in order

to exterminate mental illnesses and its stigma from suffering patients. Scholars, Basant Pradhan,

Jessica Kluewer DAmico, Ramkrishna Makani and Tapan Parikh, discuss these new treatments

in their academic journal entitled, Nonconventional Interventions for Chronic Posttraumatic

Stress Disorder: Ketamine, Repetitive Trans-Cranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS), and

Alternative Approaches. The researchers introduce their argument by first raising attention

toward the limitations of Psychopharmacology, which is effects of drugs on the mind. They

express that a drug can only do so much for these patients, that is why they have welcomed some

more unusual approaches. Pradhan, DAmico, Makani, and Parikh suggest that an illness, such as

post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can be better controlled by ketamine. Ketamine is famous

for being a party drug, in other words, it is an abused recreational substance. Despite its bad

reputation, the authors propose another use for ketamine. The process of ketamine begins with a

certain dosage, depending on ones body weight. Once the ketamine has entered ones system, its

job is to increase the release of two amino acids: glutamate and aspartate. These internal acids

rearrange the trauma memory structure, causing a disruption. This technique is still being

discussed among researchers because it is quite dangerous and controversial.

Researchers are tirelessly examining the impending future of mental health, including

Roland Brian Bchter and Melanie Messer. Bchter is a member of the Institute for Quality and

Efficacy in Health Care, while Messer is a participant in the Faculty for Health Sciences, Health
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Services Research and Nursing Science. These two investigate the success of several

interventions against self-stigma through a series of trials. The two states, Future studies should

be based on robust methods and consider practical implications regarding intervention

development (Bchter 1). Bchter and Messer clearly state that forthcoming studies must

involve deeper inquiries in order to receive active results. Therefore, they conducted randomized

controlled trials, in which they tested patients with any mental illness to see if they had social,

institutional, or self-stigma. The results were poor, meaning a significant amount of people

proved to be dealing with some version of stigma. In reaction to this, the researchers built an

outline of the actions that need to be taken to avoid stigma, while also presenting a scenario of

where this world is headed if these steps are not taken immediately. Bchter and Messer divided

the outline into the inputs, outputs, and outcomes. Beginning with the inputs, the researchers

urge mental health services, community services, and even peers to start being intervention

providers. This implies that these organizations must be a financial resource to continue research

on more beneficial interventions. The outputs list including educating the community with facts,

rather than poisoning stereotypes. As well as offering cognitive behavioral therapies and training

programs to the general public, but specifically to those affected by a mental illness. The

investigators close their outline with an array of short and long-term outcomes that change the

way this world views mental illnesses, while also providing new treatments that will ultimately

distinguish mind disorders. The outcomes are sectioned into personal, social, treatment related,

and life achievement. The personal addresses the patient itself, by saying that they will contain a

more positive identity, while also feel more empowered and maintain strong social skills. On a

social level, a more open society will be created, welcoming support groups and many social

interactions that will benefit the any with or affected by a mental illness. Treatment related will
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be able to provide more recovery options for patients, along with a healthy quality of life. Lastly,

life achievement will entail employment, housing, finances, and community activism. In order to

move forward, the investigators propose that all researchers establish a stable hypothetical base

for the development of interventions and examine their constituents. Bchter and Messer

demand more of researchers and the public in order to eradicate mental illnesses and its stigma.

Ultimately, the advancement of mental health creates significant controversy among

scholars and researchers. There are some who solely want to focus on the present approaches, by

merely making simple steps to follow in order to change the way mental illnesses are viewed. On

the other hand, there are advocators who desire take more unconventional methods that could

change the future of mental illnesses forever. In the future, people with mental illnesses should

no longer feel shame or be stereotyped by outside influences. The embarrassment that mental

health patients face cause them to experience great suffering and occasionally leads to suicide. It

is possible that we could reach a future where everyone is deemed as unwell, which

automatically forces every man, woman, and child to suffer from self-stigma. With that said, it is

each and every one of our duties to educate our self and take action on the taxing issue of mental

health, in order to benefit our impending futures.


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Works Cited

Bchter, Robert B, and Melanie Messer. Interventions for Reducing Self-Stigma in People with

Mental Illnesses: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled

trials. Http://Web.a.ebscohost.com/Ehost/Pdfviewer/Pdfviewer?Vid=2&Sid=d13426d3-

c851-40a1-8d44-3ce6cbbd4485%40sessionmgr4009, GMS German Medical Science.

Casados, Ava T. Reducing the Stigma of Mental Illness: Current Approaches and Future

Directions. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, vol. 24, no. 3, 2017, pp. 306

323., doi:10.1111/cpsp.12206.

Ferreira, Mandy. 7 Unusual New Treatments for Your Depression. Prevention, 4 Apr. 2017,

www.prevention.com/health/7-unusual-new-treatments-for-your-depression/slide/4.

Parastarfeizabadi, Mahboubeh, and Abbas Z. Kouzani. Advances in Closed-Loop Deep Brain

Stimulation Devices. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, vol. 14, no. 1,

Nov. 2017, doi:10.1186/s12984-017-0295-1.

Pradhan, Basant, et al. Nonconventional Interventions for Chronic Post-Traumatic Stress

Disorder: Ketamine, Repetitive Trans-Cranial Magnetic Stimulation (RTMS), and

Alternative Approaches. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, vol. 17, no. 1, Oct. 2015,

pp. 3554., doi:10.1080/15299732.2015.1046101.