Why is William’s chronic illness perceived differently by society than Fran’s chronic illness?

Why is William’s chronic illness perceived differently by society than Fran’s chronic illness?

First and foremost, William’s schizophrenia is a mental health problem whilst Fran’s condition (diabetes) is a physical illness.This distinction encourages many people, including health professionals and lay people, to belief that the two are basically different.The public appears to disapprove individuals with psychiatric disabilities considerably more than individuals with physical disabilities. Unlike physical illnesses, individuals with mental health problems are viewed by the public to be responsible for causing their own conditions and are in control of them.

Society will likely enforce strong sanctions on persons known to suffer from mental health problems, depending on the exact behaviors which these individuals exhibit. Most people will react definitely react differently to a person with a mental illnesses than to a person with physical illnesses. Many people feel sympathetic toward persons with physical illnesses since they comprehend and recognize the symptoms and signs that such persons exhibit or because their past experience help them empathize with those afflictions. On the other hand, mental health problems may entail indefinable and potentially threatening ideas and feelings beyond others’ ability to understand (Clinard & Meier 2015)

Many people belief that individuals with mental health problems are responsible for their own illnesses and are homicidal obsessed who need to be feared (Corrigan& and Watson, 2002). As a result, the general public have high propensity to endorse stigmas about mental health problems. Most persons with chronic mental health problems are challenged doubly. To begin with, they grapple with the disabilities and symptoms that stem from the illnesses on one hand. On the other hand, they face the prejudice and stereotypes that derive from misconceptions regarding mental illness. Consequently, person with mental health problems are denied the opportunities that delineate a quality life, such as safe housing, good job and social association with a diverse group of people. Research suggests that stigmatizing attitudes towards individuals with mental illness are widespread. The commonly held belief is that persons with mental illness are dangerous and violent, particularly those with drug and alcohol dependence, major depression and schizophrenia (Asumah, 2014). Such people are believed to be hard to talk to and are unpredictable.

Throughout history persons with mental health problems or illness have been excluded and treated differently. This treatment come from misguides perceptions that individuals with mental illnesses may be unpredictable or more violent than individuals without those problems. Additionally, early beliefs regarding the causes of mental illness, such as spirit or demonic possession, were accounts that could virtually certainly result in reactions of discrimination, fear and caution.

The medical theoretical approach implies that mental health problems and physical illnesses are on par and may be caused by physical or medical dysfunction. This means that individuals with mental illnesses are in one way or the other dissimilar from ordinary functioning individuals. Furthermore, the medical framework implies diagnosis, which in turn implies a label. That label can well be related to attributable attributes, for example, mad men cannot function normally in society. Consequently, this will perpetuate the notion that persons with mental illnesses are different and ought to be dealt with caution.

Is there more of a stigma about some types of mental illness than others? If so why?

Yes. Some mental disorders are stigmatized more than others. More chronic mental illnesses are extremely stigmatized, especially when they are accompanied by behavioral disturbance like bizarreness and violence (Bastos-Turner, 2007). Such mental disorders will likely attract more stigma and social rejection.

Stigmatizing attitudes toward mental disorders differ among countries, cultures, ethnicities, families, and individuals. Some American Indian native tribes stigmatize all mentor disorders, others stigmatize selected few mental disorders and other tribes do not stigmatize at all. In most Asian countries, where numerous cultures value and respect conformity to emotional self-control, norms, and family recognition via achievement, mental disorders are generally stigmatized and viewed as source of shame. In Africa, people attach more stigmas to severe mental disorders that fail to respond to traditional treatment (Bastos-Turner, 2007). The most commonly stigmatized mental disorders include schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, and major depression.


Asumah. S. N. (2014). Diversity, social justice, and inclusive excellence: transdisciplinary and global perspectives. Albany: State University of New York Press

Bastos-Turner, D. G. (2007).Cross-cultural comparison of stigma towardsmental illness and help seekingbetween Americans and Brazilians. Dissertation, The University of The Rockies

Clinard, M. & Meier, R. (2015).Sociology of Deviant Behavior (15th Ed). Belmont CA: Wadsworth. Cengage Learning

Corrigan, P. W. & Watson, A. C. (2002). Understanding the impact of stigma on people with mental illness.World Psychiatry, 1(1): 16–20

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