To further focus on individuals, Cleary states that “taking an open approach means that patients and their families would appreciate that they are not alone. With strong support from healthcare professionals, they would be better placed to build up the courage and confidence required for managing the illness and associated difficulties” (49). This requires healthcare professionals to play a large role in reducing the stigma of mental illness for their patients and the public. Cleary adds, “It is timely for us all to reflect upon and challenge our values and beliefs and think about how our attitudes may potentially contribute to a range of adverse outcomes for people with a mental illness and those whose well-being has been further threatened by physical health problems” (49).
In the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Corrigan and Rao suggest that public stigma directly contributes to self-stigma, and its elimination may be the key to fixing self-stigma in individuals with mental illness: “Stigma is a social injustice and an error of society. Hence eradicating it is the responsibility, and should be the priority, of that society” (467). The mentally ill are not responsible for the way the public stigmatizes them. The public needs to become more self-aware and more knowledgeable about mental illnesses, because they are surrounded by people who suffer from them every day. Once the public can accept mental illness as a part of life like any physical illness, then the mentally ill won’t self-stigmatize themselves due to pressure from the society they live in.
As for focusing on the mentally ill community, Jamison expresses in her article that “we also need to recognize that those of us who have mental illnesses represent a very large block of voters…Public perception about mental illness lags decades behind the science. We need to convey how real and extensive our scientific understanding is…” (534). Jamison suggests that the mentally ill need to advocate for each other to reduce stigma and the mentally ill population needs to fight against the stigma of mental illness. Mental illness needs to be as open and supported as groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. When someone reveals that they attend A.A. meetings, people look upon it as a sign that that person wants to change and they are doing the right thing. A mentally ill person should be able to be looked upon in the same way; they have a disease that they are working hard to overcome.
After conducting their research, Pescosolido and his colleagues conclude that “the public health implications of the backbone of stigma hold promise for redirecting stigma reduction efforts toward novel messages and approaches. Because the public holds a tacit understanding of the etiology of mental illness, our efforts need to move past this message” (7). Pescosolido claims that by targeting the right audience in the right way organizations can take a step further, so the public will not react negatively to mental...