Individual and Community Perceptions of Mental Illness

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By NSimmo001
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Individual and Community Perceptions of Mental Illness

According to Kring, A.M., Davidson, G.C., Neale, J. M., & Johnson, S.L (2007) Abnormal Psychology (10th Ed.) abnormal behavior is at the center of mental disorders and stigma remains a problem. However, the perceptions concerning mental illness vary within cultural groups and often are linked to not only cultural variations but also socioeconomic differences. According to some studies, groups that have higher levels of education and financial security are more likely to have more accepting attitudes concerning mental illness and treatment compared to groups with limited education and that fall within lower socioeconomic levels. “Treatment” is viewed as a natural course of action among individuals and their families resulting in the destigmatization of the “illness”. This compared to individuals who live in lower socioeconomic communities’ mental illness is often viewed as real or perceived oppression initiated by a society that historically has established systems that perpetuate inequality.

My observation has been that this perception leads to a belief that “true” mental illness does not exist, resulting in the stance that if only there was a level playing field the “illness” would go away. There is also a quiet acceptance within families and a reluctance to acknowledge that “professional” help might be needed. This often becomes a nightmare for the individual and his/her family. Thus the strain the illness places on the family begins to erode familial and community relationships and the individual over time becomes disconnected from the very system that is necessary for recovery and/or healing. Additionally, according to studies that have explored interventions among low-income and communities of color traditional values of therapeutic models often conflict with communities that are more collective…...

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