Responses and Reactions of People to a Person with Mental Illness
Mental health professionals and other researchers have focused on public reactions and attitudes towards individuals with mental health illnesses. Besides published information, people with mental health challenges provide first-hand accounts of individual’s responses towards them and their conditions. Although many different reactions are evident in society, stigma and prejudice are the most common and affect the health outcomes of concerned persons (Corrigan 6). Stigma is prevalent among people with mental illnesses and is the leading factor behind their homelessness. Research and the experience of affected persons reveal that the condition challenges them doubly. On the one hand, they have to contend with the disabilities and symptoms of the illness. While on the other aspect, they suffer the prejudice and stereotypes that emanate from stigmatizing views of the disease. The public holds misconceptions about mental illness, an instance that deny people with the problem the opportunities in society, such as medical attention, employment, safe housing, and feeling of belonging.
Although the society has received considerable awareness regarding mental health, the stigma persists and affects some communities more than others, such as the marginalized. Many people have cognitive and affective responses (prejudice) that cause a behavioral reaction (discrimination). Prejudice might cause violent behavior towards the mentally ill person. Some people exhibit the fear that causes avoidance, such as refusal to hire a person with a mental illness or provide quality housing to such a person. Some people turn prejudice inwards, leading to self-discrimination. Fear of rejection and self-stigma have detrimental effects on mentally ill persons (Angermeyer, Matschinger, and Schomerus 147). Addressing the adverse reactions is the most effective way to improve the quality of care provided to people with mental illnesses.
Health Promotion Activities to Address the Impact on Stigma
Mental health stigma has detrimental effects on people with the illness. Therefore, short- and long-term efforts are necessary to overcome the negative impact. Health promotion provides long-lasting relief to people with the disease because it supports sustained improvements through behavior and mindset changes. Health promotion helps to address prejudice and stigma by others and the self (Wahlbeck 37). Through health promotion and education, the target audience receives correct information regarding mental health to eradicate negative perceptions.
The Ottawa Charter provides the basis for effective health promotion programs targeting mental health. The program is an enabler for people to have better control over and improve their health. It helps individuals to understand current challenges, such as poor access to mental health care due to stigma and the need for change to achieve quality improvement (Thompson, Watson, and Tilford 74). They should learn that health is an everyday resource instead of an objective of living. Therefore, health promotion should enhance care and support for the affected persons. Health promotion, according to the Charter, helps to build mental health public policy, create a supportive environment for the involved, strengthen community action, develop personal skills, and focus on prevention and promotion.
Current mental Health Promotion activities in my region include Public Mental Health and Alcohol, Drug Use, and Health. The first program aims at assisting the youth in applying an evidence-based understanding of the detrimental effects of alcohol and drugs to help them to avoid their use and abuse. Substance use disorders are among the most common mental health illnesses in society. The second program creates awareness about the various ways of preventing and treating mental health illnesses in the community.
The article provides a justifiable framework for understanding drug and alcohol abuse in society. I concur with the content presented in the article because I have witnessed the detrimental effects of the negative behavior on a relative. I feel that the study provides timely information that my community can use to invest in drug and alcohol abuse programs to educate the youth about the dangers and provide support for those already using these substances.
Research published in the article reveals a high rate of alcohol and drug use among Australian adolescents. The study focused on students aged 12-17 years. The leading majority (79.6 percent) used alcohol only, 18.3 percent used a limited range multidrug, and 2 percent used extended range multidrug (White et al. 2070). Therefore, the high prevalence of alcohol and drug use provides the rationale for drug and alcohol abuse programs.
Three groups of Health Promotion (and Prevention) activities can help to address the issue of alcohol and drug use among Australian School Students, which include Community action, Community work, and Community development strategies. Community action strategies entail community awareness of drug issues. An example of a community work activity includes community alcohol and other drug action teams. A community development activity is a recreational activity for youth. Necessary resources to implement Health Promotion (and Prevention) activities in the community may include human resources (such as health care or social workers), financial resources (such a to implement the recreation activity), community support and collaboration, training materials, and other supplies.