Psychological Effects of Societal Stigmatisation

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that stigma, discrimination and neglect prevent care and treatment from reaching victims with mental illness which has been identified to be a leading cause of ill-health and disability worldwide. While people continue to struggle with the symptoms and effects of mental health, the growing societal stigmatisation (simply stigma) and stereotype associated with it is becoming worrisome.

Social stigma, is the disapproval of, or discrimination against, a person based on social characteristics that serve to distinguish them from other members of society. It is structural in the sense that it has become a belief held by a large faction of society and can create barriers for persons with a mental or behavioural disorder. Stigma, whether from the public or self-inflicted, reduces self-esteem, damages social relationships and participation, and creates a social barrier.

Stigma is a major problem that impacts how resources are distributed in the society, labels are created and victims are ostracised. How can we reduce the impact of stigmatisation and possibly remove the labels created by it? 

The Good Citizen Radio Show – Effects Of Societal Stigmatisation [with Pastor Godman Akinlabi]

People are often quick to generalise and assume they know victims are suffering the consequence of their past actions. They use this as a reason to stay clear of victims and justify actions that cause victims to feel left out.

The first step to solving the problem of stigmatisation, as suggested by Pastor Godman, would be to address this prevailing mindset of hasty generalisation and be ready to offer help where necessary. Leading by example was another solution proffered by our guest, Pastor Godman. He was of the opinion that our actions are emulated if people see no harm in offering help.

We had insightful contributions from our callers as well. Ndidi, a regular caller on the show, noted that ignorance was a key issue with stigmatisation. She advised that proper awareness be carried out to educate people, especially those in the grassroot.

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