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Social prejudices and stereotypes about those with mental illness can cause feelings of internalized stigma which has negative effects such as depression, hopelessness, social isolation, poor self-esteem, and can lead to a reduced quality of life when it comes to treatment and recovery (Wastler, Lucksted, Phalen, & Drapalski, 2019). Feelings of isolation and hopelessness can lead to negative outcomes especially when a person is not getting proper treatment from a professional. The stigma surrounding mental illness is fueled by public awareness of diseases they do not necessarily understand.

While there is no actual link to mental illness and acts of violence (McGinty, Goldman, Pescosolido, & Barry, 2018). There is a national debate regarding policies that draw a lot of public attention to mental illness and how it is intertwined with violent behaviors. Unfortunately, with an increase in mass shootings in the public’s eye, there seems to be a tendency to link this with mental health issues. The public seems to be for mandatory treatment versus voluntary treatment, while other mental health groups see mandatory treatment as disrespect to civil liberties (McGinty, Goldman, Pescosolido, & Barry, 2018).

Human service professionals have an obligation to understand mental illness and provide care and treatment without prejudice. “National level data shows that only 24% of working-age adults with mental health issues are employed which has been true since 2003 (Brucker, & Doty, 2019).” The goal for human service workers should be to look beyond the social prejudice and stigma and provide those with mental illness fair opportunities. Those who serve the public through human services programs need to educate themselves and look for an opportunity for those who suffer from mental illness.


Brucker, D. L., & Doty, M. (2019). Community mental health center staff attitudes about employment for persons with serious mental illness. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 42(1), 32–40.…

McGinty, E. E., Goldman, H. H., Pescosolido, B. A., & Barry, C. L. (2018). Communicating about Mental Illness and Violence: Balancing Stigma and Increased Support for Services. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 43(2), 185–228.…

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