Issues of Social Stigma, Labeling and Discrimination of Patients

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1583 |

Pages: 3|

8 min read

Published: Aug 14, 2023

Words: 1583|Pages: 3|8 min read

Published: Aug 14, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Discrimination in Healthcare Services
  2. Controversial Impact of Labelling Patients
  3. Social Stigma and Self-Stigmatization
  4. Conclusion
  5. References

Mental health issues are common in the UK and they affect thousands of individuals, work colleagues, families and the general public. Common mental health issues comprise depressions post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and generalised anxiety disorder. Individuals with mental health issues are faced with numerous kinds of discrimination, labelling and social stigma. Therefore, this essay focuses on people with health issues, this will start by defining stigma, discrimination and labelling. Furthermore, this essay will examine the impacts they have on people with health issues.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

Discrimination in Healthcare Services

Discrimination is the prejudicial or unjust treatment of individuals based on features such as age, disability, gender race or sexual orientation. Discrimination is a form of intended separation. It signifies separating a person as a result of their gender, race, age, disability, Sexual orientation, religion, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity and Marriage and civil partnership and segregating them from a norm in public and treating them differently from other people. Internalised discrimination or self-discrimination is the process whereby individuals with mental health issues turn the stereotypes concerning mental illness embraced by the society, towards themselves. They believe they will be discarded socially and so assume they are not cherished and loved. Being discriminated against has considerable effect on confidence and self-esteem.

This can escalate isolation from public and increase social withdrawal and feelings of exclusion. Major et al. declared that individuals with mental health issues are often the object of derision or ridicule and portrayed in the media as being incompetent, impulsive and violent. Also, it is discovered that the myth surrounding violence has not been dismissed, notwithstanding evidences to the contrary. Parle contend that service users with mental health problem often experience social discrimination in the community, such as being verbally and physically attacked by neighbours and strangers, being barred from pubs and shops or their property being vandalised; service users with psychotic illness or addictions tend to encounter this more than those with non-psychotic illness. Also, Lyons et al. findings include instances of being spoken to as if they were like children or stupid, being patronising and, in certain occasion, questions will not be addressed to the services users rather to those accompanying them. Dinos et al. reported that patients felt a range of emotions surrounding their encountering of discrimination, inclusive of embarrassment, guilt, isolation, anxiety, fear, anger, unhappiness and above all hurt.

Patients also encountered discrimination when accessing healthcare services. Lyons et al. found that healthcare professionals as being disdainful to services users; this can lead to unwillingness to go back for additional visits, which can have a harmful impact on physical health. This is particularly important, as evidence indicates persons with mental illness are at greater risk from physical health problems, inclusive of respiratory disease, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as greater risk of premature death according to Social Exclusion Unit.

Controversial Impact of Labelling Patients

The word “label” refers to a person whose behaviour or actions is at variance with social norms and what is acceptable in society. These persons are labelled and develop a stigma attached and once the label has taken form, this can have a general effect on the behaviour of person. Yuill et al. argued that labelling a person is putting the person into a certain class based on how they look or what people have heard concerning them, judging or forming an opinion about them before knowing them. According to Richards and Ford being labelled as ‘mentally ill’ can have considerable impacts on various features of the life of the person. Collins et al. opined that mental health problem or mental disorder is an illness that goes against usual everyday development and functioning, nevertheless it is difficult to categorised as individuals express themselves in various ways.

Labelling can result to patient being rejected and being viewed as different from others. This can have a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of the person such as making the person feel worthless and want to isolate their selves from other people. Additional support for the adverse impact of being labelled with a mental health problem indicate that people are looked at and judged upon in various ways, not considering the gravity of the illness. This is buttressed by Angermeyer and Matschinger study which found that labelling a person with a mental health problem has effect on the attitudes of people toward them. The study also found that people view a person with schizophrenia as a dangerous person and this further initiate negative impact on the patient as people react emotionally to them and tend socially distance themselves from them.

Even though evidences have showed the labelling can have a negative impact on those diagnosed with a mental health problem, opposing evidence reveals that labelling can have positive impact on the person. Critics assert that being labelled with a mental health problem may assist the person come to terms with their illness, face their issue and get professional assistance. Gazzaniga et al. concluded that many patients do not feel stigmatized and adversely impacted by the label ‘mental patient’, rather they support the treatment received by healthcare practitioners. This may assist the patients feel safe as they are receiving support from healthcare practitioners and aid a swift recovery. The treatment they received would possibly lessen the symptoms involved such as panic attack, hence, aiding them in different aspects of their life; for example, becoming more actively involved with the public, boosting their self-esteem and subduing the bad feelings.

Social Stigma and Self-Stigmatization

Stigma is when a person sees an individual in a negative way due to an attributes or characteristic such as a disability or a mental illness, cultural background or skin colour. Stigma happens when society labels an individual as less desirable or tainted. Stigma occurs when an individual defines a person by their illness instead of who the person is as an individual. For, instance, a person might be labelled ‘psychotic’ instead of ‘someone experiencing psychosis. Stigma is made up of three components; ignorance (a lack of knowledge), prejudice (negative attitudes) and discrimination (people behaving in ways that disadvantage the stigmatised individual.

The two major kinds of stigma happen with mental health issues, self-stigma and social stigma. Social stigma which is also known as public stigma is referred to as an adverse stereotype of people with a mental health issue. Corrigan et al. noted that these stereotypes come to define the individual, differentiate them from others and stop them being view as a person. Social stigma is linked with discrimination. For instance, someone with a mental health issue may discover that other people inclusive of colleagues and friends avoid them. It may even be more difficult for people with mental health problem to obtain employment, gain housing and have access to quality healthcare and if they report a crime, their account is less probably to be believed by the police. A 2011 survey conducted in England by Corker et al. found that nearly 9 out 10 mental hearth users had encountered discrimination. The outcomes of discrimination, for instance social isolation and unemployment can stigmatise an individual further.

Self-stigma happens when an individual internalises negative stereotypes. This can result to hopelessness, shame and low self-esteem. Both self-stigma and social stigma can lead an individual to avoid soliciting assistance for their mental health issues as a result of fear of being rejected or shunned or embarrassment. When this occur, the underlying issue can go untreated creating suffering this not needed. An impediment in getting treatment can aggravate the outlook of some conditions as can the anxiety and stress caused by encountering stigma. Family members and relatives of people with mental health problem can also be stigmatised, so called courtesy stigma.


People with mental health issues are faced with numerous kinds of stigma, discrimination and labelling which to a great extent affect them. Stigma, discrimination and labelling can worsen the services user’s mental health issues and impede or delay them from receiving assistance and treatment, as well as recovery. They also experience unemployment, social isolation and rejected by the society due to stigmatisation, discrimination and labelling.


  1. Link, B. G., & Phelan, J. C. (2006). Stigma and its public health implications. The Lancet, 367(9509), 528-529.

  2. Major, B., Dovidio, J. F., & Link, B. G. (2018). The Oxford Handbook of Stigma, Discrimination, and Health. Oxford University Press.

  3. Corrigan, P. W., & Watson, A. C. (2002). The Paradox of Self-Stigma and Mental Illness. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 9(1), 35-53.

  4. Van Brakel, W. H. (2006). Measuring health-related stigma: A literature review. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 11(3), 307-334.

    Stone, J., Moskowitz, G. B., Zestcott, C. A., & Devue, C. (2015). A social self-preservation account of the effects of stereotype and stigma on performance. Social Cognition, 33(6), 474-500.

  5. Knaak, S., & Patten, S. (2016). A grounded theory model for reducing stigma in health professionals in Canada. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 134, 53-62.

  6. Rao, D., Choi, S. W., Victorson, D., Bode, R., Peterman, A., Heinemann, A., & Cella, D. (2009). Measuring stigma across neurological conditions: The development of the stigma scale for chronic illness (SSCI). Quality of Life Research, 18(5), 585-595.

  7. Link, B. G., Yang, L. H., Phelan, J. C., & Collins, P. Y. (2004). Measuring mental illness stigma. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 30(3), 511-541.

  8. Sweeney, A., Fahmy, R., Nolan, F., Morant, N., & Fox, Z. (2016). The relationship between therapeutic alliance and service user satisfaction in mental health inpatient wards and crisis house alternatives: A cross-sectional study. PLOS ONE, 11(4), e0154306.

    Get a custom paper now from our expert writers.

  9. Heijnders, M., & Van Der Meij, S. (2006). The fight against stigma: An overview of stigma-reduction strategies and interventions. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 11(3), 353-363.

Image of Dr. Oliver Johnson
This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Oliver Johnson

Cite this Essay

Issues of Social Stigma, Labeling and Discrimination of Patients. (2023, August 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 20, 2024, from
“Issues of Social Stigma, Labeling and Discrimination of Patients.” GradesFixer, 14 Aug. 2023,
Issues of Social Stigma, Labeling and Discrimination of Patients. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 Jul. 2024].
Issues of Social Stigma, Labeling and Discrimination of Patients [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 14 [cited 2024 Jul 20]. Available from:
Keep in mind: This sample was shared by another student.
  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours
Write my essay

Still can’t find what you need?

Browse our vast selection of original essay samples, each expertly formatted and styled


Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!


    Get Your
    Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!
    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now