Research paper: mental health perception

Summary

Mental health problem affects people from all communities across the world. The main impact of the mental health issue is stigmatization. Muslims believes that mental illness can come as a retribution from Allah (Ciftci, Jones & Corrigan, 2013). In regards to this, most families consider having mental illness as a shame. In addition, Malaysian experts determined that family members, friends, and colleagues are the chief perpetrators of stigma around mental health. According to Gopalkrishnan & Babacan (2015), different factors that affect the mental health system are emotional handling, embarrassment, power distance, social interactions, and religious conviction. From the literature review, most of the authors proposed further research on the cause of mental illness.

Introduction

Mental health is a global issue that has experienced a lot of stigma among different communities based on their overall perception about it. There are various perceptions in the understanding of mental health from different communities around the globe. According to the Muslims, mental illness is viewed as a retribution from Allah (Ciftci, Jones & Corrigan, 2013). These perceptions on the origin of mental illness have not only shaped the understanding of mental health in different communities but have also led to existing stigma on mental illness. Mental illness stigma continue to be a stumbling block for people suffering from mental illness. In this research paper, the issue of mental health stigma from various communities will be addressed.

Mental health issues in this contemporary society have almost become pandemic. Depression and anxiety to be specific are increasing rapidly with much still clinically under-and un-diagnosed. This pattern is persistent across the globe. The global rise in mental health issues can be attributed to the spread of notion around the cause and treatment of mental illness. According to Gopal Krishnan & Babacan (2015), there are factors such as social interactions, embarrassment, religious convictions, and emotional handling in different cultures that affect mental health systems in various communities. Different cultures have their way of managing mental health issues guided by their perceptions.

The perception of people on the causes of mental health problems can affect the overall need of victims as well as the people around. Despite mental health being a global problem, there exist varying views and beliefs on the underlying causes of mental health issues. According to Pang et al., 2017, Singaporean believe that mental illness is due to physical, psycho-social, and personality causes. Also, Muslims believe that mental illness can originate from Allah as a punishment (Ciftci, Jones & Corrigan, 2013). In regards to this, people with mental illness have been considered evil leading to discrimination and stigmatization. The stigma of mental illness is among the challenges preventing the people from seeking treatment.

Stigma is a discriminative and prejudicial attitude that is held by the people on a given issue. Discriminative attitudes cause fear, and allow people to separate themselves from mentally challenged individuals. The stigma of mental illness mainly originates from the many perceptions around mental health issue and can prevent the people from seeking medical attention. According to Hanafiah & Van Bortel (2015), the stigma around mental illness in Malaysia is mainly caused by friends, family members, and colleagues, which makes it challenging to deal with mental health problems. People suffering from a mental health issue consider handling their condition alone to avoid any instances of stigmatization.

According to Hanafiah & Van Bortel (2015), having negative attitudes, stereotyping, and discrimination towards people in mental health situations can be harming. Different literature focuses more on the effect of the stigma that is linked to mental illness. The stigma on mental illness can be as harmful as the signs resulting in social rejection and discrimination. The stigma linked with a mental health issue is the primary barrier to giving of care to people. Stigma does not end at the illness level but marks the people affected directly, and people affected indirectly, such as family members and mental health providers. Due to stigma, society will view people with mental illness with low regard leading to reluctance to channel resource into mental health care.

On the other hand, social justice is perceived as the main concern for people with mental illness. Social justice is defined as the view that everyone should be given equal economic, social, and political rights as well as opportunities. According to Karpetis (2015), education is a significant aspect of eliminating the stigma around mental health. With the increasing stigmatization of people with mental illness around the globe, it is important to create awareness by educating communities on the effect of stigma on mental illness. The society should understand that even people with mental illness deserve and are entitled to equal rights. Through education, people will be able to understand the cause of mental health problem.

There has been a lot of studies carried out based on stigma experienced around mental health problems. The previous studies have majored more on the perceptions of people, discrimination, and stereotypes in regards to mental illness. It is evident from the previous studies carried out on factors that affect the treatment and management of mental health systems in different communities is the narrative that is run about mental illness resulting in stigmatization. According to Hanafiah & Van Bortel (2015), most people do not want to associate with people with mental health issues to avoid shame and embarrassment. In instances of mental illness, family members suffer grief, pain, and isolation from people around.

Therefore, this quantitative research will analyze the causes of mental health problem contributing to stigma. The overall question in this research is “what are the causes of mental illness, and how does the understanding of the causes vary based on an individual’s level of education and overall experience? The research will involve an evaluation of the perceptions of different groups of people in regards to the causes of mental illness and determine whether or not the level of education affects their understanding of the cause of mental illness. This research can assist determine the information that is related to the roots of mental illness. The entire study is based on the values of people, their views of mental illness, and how the understanding of causes contributes to stigma.

In this research, I will review different works of literature by focusing on the cause of mental health problem and then address some of the impacts of cultural variations for future study on stigma. A research carried out about the views of and attitudes towards mental illness in the general public showed that spirits could cause mental illness. In the same review, some group of researchers determined that the existence of stigma on people with mental illness is shaped by the perceptions in the cause of mental health issue. Due to this, mentally impaired people are considered to be dangerous and can harm a normal person.

In a different study on the analysis of attitudes towards mental health issue among Singaporeans in Singapore. Singaporeans believe that mental illness is attributed to a personality issue. A small percentage of the participants reported a positive attitude on mentally impaired people while a greater percentage reported a negative attitude. Understanding the source of attitudes among Singaporeans and other Asian communities will be of great help (Pang et al., 2017). All the communities around the world will tag their attitudes leading up to stigmatization on the causes of mental illness. Based on this, there is a link between the attitudes towards mental illness and the perceived causes.

This quantitative research will use a cross-sectional design. People’s views of the causes of mental illness research platform will be designed to assist assess the perceptions of people around the causes of mental illness. The two main roles of this research are; first is to determine the cause of mental illness contributing to stigma. Second, is to analyze how an individual’s level of education and experience might relate to their overall perceptions on the cause of mental illness.

About 110 participants will participate in the study. Among the participants, there will be 50 male participants and 60 female participants. Also, half of the participants will be selected randomly from professors, while the other half will be selected randomly from communities that are less educated. People from less education background will assist understand the traditional perceptions of the cause of mental illness. Professors will assist in understanding the overall cause of mental illness as guided by science and research. Moreover, I will also use information from secondary sources as a guide for having the right information.

I will interview the participants to find out their understanding of the cause of mental illness in their community. The interview will take place in different locations and will depend on how convenient it is with the participants. The interview will consist of about 36 questions related to the cause of mental illness. The questions will be designed in a manner that the feedbacks from participants will outline the causes of mental illness. However, the participants will be given a consent form to read and sign before the interview. The participants will be assured of the confidentiality of the information they give before the interview.

To respond to the question “what are the causes of mental illness and how does the understanding of the causes vary based on an individual’s level of education and overall experience?” information from the interview will be evaluated. All the information from the two groups (educated and less educated) will be compared to arrive at a deductive conclusion on the cause of mental illness. Besides, the information obtained from secondary sources on the perceived factors that can cause mental illness from different communities will be used. 

Conclusion

In all cultures across the globe, stigma is the main problem that affects the treatment of mental health issues. The perceptions around the cause of mental illness contribute to the overall stigma. Most people do not want to be associated with mental illness because it is considered shameful. With this in mind, it will be important to understand the cause of mental illness from different angles. Therefore, this research will unveil the stalemate on the cause of mental illness.

Reference list

Ciftci, A., Jones, N., & Corrigan, P. (2013). Mental Health Stigma in the Muslim Community. Journal of Muslim Mental Health, 7(1). doi: 10.3998/jmmh.10381607.0007.102

Gopalkrishnan, N., & Babacan, H. (2015). Cultural diversity and mental health. Australasian Psychiatry, 23(6_suppl), 6-8. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1039856215609769

Hanafiah, A. N., & Van Bortel, T. (2015). A qualitative exploration of the perspectives of mental health professionals on stigma and discrimination of mental illness in Malaysia. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 9(1), 1–12. https://doi-org.ezproxy.umuc.edu/10.1186/s13033-015-0002-1

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Karpetis, G. (2015). Psychological distress among mental health social workers. European Journal of Social Work, 18(5), 745-755.

Pang, S., Subramaniam, M., Lee, S., Lau, Y., Abdin, E., & Chua, B. et al. (2017). The Singaporean public beliefs about the causes of mental illness: results from a multi-ethnic population-based study. Epidemiology And Psychiatric Sciences, 27(4), 403-412. doi: 10.1017/s2045796017000105