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Stigma, rejection and mental health

This is clear from the study “Social stigma causes isolation and loneliness for people with mental illness, homeless people or people with intellectual disabilities”, carried out by the Group 5 Chair and the Complutense University of Madrid against Stigma.

During the research, a qualitative study (6 focus groups and in-depth interviews) was carried out on the populations of interest (mental health, intellectual disability and homelessness), as well as a quantitative survey with a sample of 2,775 people .

Directed by Manuel Muñoz López, professor of psychological assessment and diagnosisthe report reviews among its conclusions the fact that in mental health there is a differential stigma by professions and “it is the bodies and security forces of the State, the security personnel and the judicial and health sector, who lead the ranking of stigmatizing attributions”.

On the contrary, “non-university teachers, social service professionals or people who do voluntary actions show better scores in approach and de-stigmatization”.

Stigma and mental health

With regard to the topic of mental health, the result that 65% refuse to live with a person with a mental disorder, and that 40% would not like their children to be in a relationship with people with mental health problems, draws attention .

However, among the people surveyed, 21% admit to having or having had mental health problems at some point in their life.

A similar percentage, 1 in 4 people, say they live with someone with a mental health problem.

Regarding the willingness to talk about mental health problems, almost all (96.5%) are willing to share experiences; something that, the study concludes, may be a key protective factor.

The majority of people believe that it is necessary to report the presence of mental health problems when a person has committed a crime (68.7%), this being a clearly stigmatizing aspect.

In addition, it should be borne in mind that making public a medical diagnosis constitutes a crime.

One of the points that denotes the presence of a stigma towards people who have mental health problems, according to the study, refers to the words used to refer to them and the use of terms such as crazy, buzzed or sick , stigmatizing and not inclusive.

Regarding the attitudes towards people with mental health problems, 42.32% of the people interviewed show authoritarian tendencies.

Factors such as coercion for the person to undergo treatment (6.45/9), the belief that they will need help on a recurring basis (6.44/9) or grief (5.88/9) also appear with average scores/ high

The researchers also conclude that those people who know someone with this condition tend to stigmatize much less, with significant differences close to 50% compared to people who do not have people they know with mental health problems.

In relation to the gender of the person which answers, the general results seem to point that men are significantly more authoritarian, while women are more benevolent and expose greater beliefs of sorrow, danger, and fear.

Thus, there is less stigma towards women with a mental health problem and they seem to be seen as more in need of help, in the same way that they are more authoritarian.

Whereas, in the case of men with a mental health problem seem to be seen as more dangerousthus generating more fear and guilt towards them.

stigma mental health
Infographic Research Stigma and Mental Health

Stigma, rejection and homelessness

As for the homeless peoplethe study points out in the first place that 1.3% of the Spanish population (600,000 people) would have been homeless.

He also points out that the data supports a double reality: the invisibility of a problem, and secondly, the idea that homelessness is not a hermetic and stable group, but a condition that affects many people in different ways. more permeable over time.

Complementarily, 3.7% have lived with a person who has lived in a homeless situation and 18.1% acknowledge knowing someone in this situation.

According to the authors of the report, one of the points that denote the presence of a greater stigma towards these people refers to words such as destitute (16.2%), homeless (14.6%) or beggar, used to refer to the affected people.

And in the case of mediapoint out that 50.7% of the sample considers that this situation should be reported when the person commits a crime, despite the fact that the public dissemination of this information can be considered a stigmatizing behavior.

For sociodemographic conditions, the data show that young people show a lower level of social distance than older people towards the homeless and more stigmatizing scores in dangerousness, fear and guilt; while the older group shows more stigmatizing scores in the dimensions dajuda and coercion.

Finally, in addition level of studiesthe intention to approach the homeless is higher, while negative attributions are reduced.

A gender issuedata shows that homeless men are more stigmatized, while women are less stigmatized and more inclusive.

Stigma, rejection and intellectual disability

Regarding the intellectual disabilitydirect contact data indicate that 1 in 10 people say they live with a person with an intellectual disability, and the majority (64%) know a person with this condition.

The willingness of the people interviewed to talk about the situation of intellectual disability that another person might be experiencing (95.2% are willing to talk about the subject) is a good sign.

The researchers affirm that one of the aspects that indicate the presence of a stigma towards people with intellectual disabilities refers to the words used to refer to the affected people such as, deficient, retarded, diminished or less present, subnormal or Mongolian.

“In the case of the media, it is particularly relevant that 65% of the sample expect that, when faced with the commission of a crime, the media will report on the status of a person with an intellectual disability.”

And this despite the fact that the inclusion of this information in most cases violates data protection laws, does not provide relevant information and reinforces the responsibility of the media in the perpetuation of stereotypes, prejudices and discriminatory behaviour.

Regarding gender, women are perceived as more in need of help, and men are more stigmatized in attitudes of guilt, anger, avoidance and coercion.

The three groups subject to this investigation by the Complutense University have been systematically stigmatized and discriminated against over time, seeing their rights and access to social and health opportunities considerably reduced, according to the WHO.

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