‘The experience of stigma associated with mental illness is devastating and can be detrimental to recovery. Link and Phelan defines stigma in terms of five interrelated components: labelling, stereotyping, separation, status loss, and discrimination.
They further note that each of these five elements must occur within a power differential, where the stigmatized individual possesses a lesser amount of power. Stigma is often the response to individuals who are expressing an undesirable or frightening characteristic and can be viewed as a continuum from intolerance or agitation to prejudice and discrimination.
On the more negative end of the continuum, prejudice and discrimination are rooted in commonly held stereotypes that are associated with mental illnesses. These stereotypes are concentrated within an image that individuals with a mental illness are unable to make competent decisions, are dangerous to themselves and/or the public, and require coercive intervention as they will not seek treatment autonomously.
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