Mental health awareness has been a topical issue for years and is something that needs to be addressed given the thousands of people that suffer through mental health illnesses.However, there is no doubt that over the centuries, mental illnesses have fallen into the category of taboo subjects and that there is a massive stigma surrounding it. In the more recent years, the discussion and acknowledgement of mental health illnesses has increased, but it still falls into cultural stigma. The cultural stigma regarding mental health is most apparent in minority groups because of their distinct beliefs and the americanization of mental health.
The cultural stigma in minority groups such as Latinos and Asian Americans is mostly a matter of prejudiced, negative, and static beliefs which devalue mental illnesses.
To understand the cultural stigma of mental health, it’s important to note what exactly is being stigmatized and the general sense of why it is, in this case it’s people who have mental illnesses in specific cultures. The article, “Living with a Concealable Stigmatized Identity,” goes in great detail about the specific kinds of stigma that exist and how its impact on the mental well-being of those stigmatized. The writers of this article define concealable stigmatized identity as an aspect of one’s self that must be hidden from others because it is devalued and there are negative stereotypes surrounding the matter. The article further discusses these different types of stigma such as anticipated stigma, which is how much the person with the concealable identity will be discriminated against. There is also centrality which focuses on the importance of self-identity in regards to their race, ethnicity, or sexuality, being open and accepting of those parts of yourself.
All these aspects regarding concealable stigmatized identity and negative stereotypes are mainly apparent in minority groups such as the Latino and Asian communities. In regards to mental health, latinos view this to be something of little importance compared and they share different values on how to deal with the issue. Latinos are not big on receiving therapy or consultation for depression or anxiety because they value strength and determination, fighting through their problems without seeking help. Strength is a major cultural value of the Latino community that is mainly the cause of negative viewpoints of those with mental health illnesses. This trait is especially common in Latin men because of the “macho” attitude that they are expected to portray. If a Hispanic male were to be clinically depressed, this would be considered, as mentioned in Diana M. Quinn and Stephenie R. Chaudoir’s article, concealable stigmatized identity. If the man were to reveal he is depressed, he would be discriminated against by family and people of his community. The cultural value of men being the strongest and caregivers of their wives and children is what deems men with mental illnesses to suffer cultural stigma.
The Latino community is founded by many traditional values that many of them, especially in the older generations, are reluctant to accept the importance of mental health. These traditional values cause prejudice for those that do not follow it. A good example of this is the LGBTQ+ community amongst Latinos. The article, “LGBTQ+ Latinx young adults’ health autonomy in resisting cultural stigma,” discusses the struggles of these group of people having to combat traditional values and their culturally shaped viewpoints. It can be difficult to combat both your culture of heritage and the predominant culture you must adapt to. In the article, there is an anecdote about a bisexual woman who grew up in a Mexican household that never really discussed sex and sexual orientation. These topics were taboo and not to be spoken of in then household. The only main concern as she stated “to not get pregnant” and because of barriers like this, it can lead to miscommunication and lack of understanding. Luckily she was able to overcome this by embracing social diversity and educating herself. Traditional values in Latino communities many times are overbearing and can be static, causing lack of knowledge and prejudices if one of their communities doesn’t conform to these values.
Overwhelming cultural values all tie into the stigma that mental health faces in minority communities such as the Latin. There are also many cases where one is viewed as crazy or their “overreacting.” These kinds of terms are damaging to the acceptance of mental health being something that should not be taken lightly.
The Asian community, quite similarly to the Lain community, also has cultural values that deem mental health to be something negative. According to the article, “Cultural Variation in Implicit Mental Illness Stigma”, involving a study on Asian Americans’ perspectives on mental illness, one of the reasons why mental illnesses are stigmatized by Asians is because it prevents them from doing their social obligations in society. The Asian culture does have a history of serving the society they live in. This comes from a sense of nationalism, being devoted to their country, only in most cases, it’s being devoted to your work/educational obligations. Being depressed or having some kind of mental disorder is seen as detrimental to that society. These cultural values of work ethnic and civic duty puts mental illnesses in a negative light.
Stigma is socially contracted and is a component that greatly affects how people perceive one another. Anything out of the “normal” and what isn’t socially acceptable is deemed to be negative criticism by society. Mental illnesses and disorders have a history of being out of the ordinary and anyone who has them is subjected to many of the stereotypes that come with it. They are seen as weak, crazy, and dangerous. They go from being like everyone else, to be being isolated socially.
The discrimination is gradually getting better, especially in the U.S, but the cultural stigma that people with mental health issues fall into cannot be rid given the vast minority groups that stigmatize mental health a lot more compared to White Americans. The foundations and traditions set by these distinct cultures are the forefront of cultural stigma in regards to mental health awareness.
Cheon, B., & Chiao, J. (2012). Cultural Variation in Implicit Mental Illness Stigma. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 43(7), 1058–1062. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022022112455457
Quinn, D. M., & Chaudoir, S. R. (2009). Living with a concealable stigmatized identity: The impact of anticipated stigma, centrality, salience, and cultural stigma on psychological distress and health. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97(4), 634-651. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.rowan.edu/10.1037/a0015815
Schmitz, R., Sanchez, J., & Lopez, B. (2018). LGBTQ+ Latinx young adults’ health autonomy in resisting cultural stigma. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 21(1), 16–30. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691058.2018.1441443
Note too sure if this is even considered a Definition ntion/categorical essay. Don’t know what I am doing, am I on the right path?
First of all, GabyTheFujoshi, this does qualify as a Definition/Categorical essay. And your sources are both sound and academic. You’ve identified a problem that requires attention, one that has life-and-death consequences. So, yes, you’re on the right track. Let me help you a bit with some of the details.
Your first paragraph (plus the one-sentence trailer) is a dissection of a single sentence pulled apart and dispensed one body part at a time.
Means: Thousands suffer from mental illness.
Means: Mental illness has been stigmatized.
Means: Mental illness is still stigmatized.
Means: Mental illness is still stigmatized by particular minority groups.
Means: Mental illness is still stigmatized by Latinos and Asian Americans.
If you want to build back the nuances I’ve left out, try doing so with numbers you’ve derived from your research, Gaby.
Here are some sources for background numbers:
Click to access rates_1999_2017.pdf
“The age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States in 2017 (14.0 per 100,000 standard
population) was 33% higher than the rate in 1999 (10.5) (1). This NCHS Health E-Stat provides
supplemental information on suicide rates by sex, age, and race and ethnicity.”
Details from the studies:
Tragically, suicide rates have increased by 33% for all Americans since 1999.
At 11 per 100,000 annually, Latin men are nearly 5 times as likely to kill themselves as Latin women.
The Causal Claim you’ll want to make in your next short argument.
Despite growing awareness that untreated mental illness leads to suicide, the cultural stigma surrounding mental illness prevents Latin men from admitting to depression or suicidal thoughts and seeking treatment, with tragic consequences.
What you want to argue in this essay:
There is a cultural stigma against mental illness.
The mentally ill are perceived to be weak, flawed, deficient.
Latin men are particularly vulnerable to this cultural stigma.
Latin women either suffer less depression and suicidality or they receive treatment for their illnesses and therefore rescue themselves from self-harm. (Research will help you decide which is true.)
Latin men either suffer more depression and suicidality or they resist treatment for their illnesses or they are more likely to attempt suicide or they are more often successful than women at committing suicide. (Research will help you decide which is true.)
There may be more of a stigma against mental illness for men than for women.
I see that you’re tempted to include arguments for both Latinx and Asian communities, but I want to dissuade you from doing so, Gaby. If your reasoning is that you won’t be able to find enough to say about JUST the Latin population, I’d like to counter that claim by saying you haven’t yet begun to scratch the surface of how much scholarly research is available to you. You don’t need to broaden your range to include Asian subjects.
For example, you make several very broad claims in your paragraph about “Concealable Stigmatized Identity,” but then fail to follow up on them. Your next draft should not waste this valuable material.
“great detail about the specific kinds of stigma that exist”
That’s an obvious opening for a categorical argument.
“concealable stigmatized identity [is] an aspect of one’s self that must be hidden from others because it is devalued and there are negative stereotypes surrounding the matter”
This is central to your overall argument that a stigma exists that prevents treatment.
“different types of stigma such as anticipated stigma”
This offers you a chance to describe the stigma as self-imposed. Latin men don’t even TRY to seek help because of fear that they WILL BE discriminated against. What is the basis for this belief? How many fail to get help because of fear of the unknown?
“centrality focuses on the importance of self-identity in regards to their race, ethnicity, or sexuality”
Your description doesn’t provide us enough understanding of this concept, Gaby. But it seems to indicate that shame regarding race or sexuality leads to a self-imposed stigma. That may or may not apply to your specific hypothesis. If it does, it means that Latin men may be internalizing how other races devalue them. It could be a latent cause of suicidality that has more to do with self-hate than with resistance to treatment. But I have to make so many guesses I can’t be sure about this. It represents an issue that’s available to you that you haven’t pursued.
I hope some of that was helpful. I will appreciate your Reply.