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HISTORICAL, SOCIAL, AND PERSONAL NARRATIVES ON MENTAL HEALTH: HOW THE PERCEPTION OF STIGMA AFFECTS THE LIKELIHOOD TO SEEK HELP

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thesis
posted on 16.12.2020, 17:47 by Olivia Joy SchumacherOlivia Joy Schumacher

Mental illness historically has had a stigma surrounding it. For years that was my understanding of mental illness as well. To be able to see mental illness and its treatments in a healthy way, I had to suffer a radical change to my life. The beginning of this paper is my story as to how I came to understand mental illness in a different light. Following that, Ch. 2 explores a brief history of mental illness and how it has been treated in society. Next, it delves into the current social narrative about mental health and what the entertainment industry is doing to either help or hurt the de-stigmatization. Lastly, the personal narrative is analyzed. The story an individual tells themselves is influenced by many different elements.

This is something on which more research needs to be done. Individual’s perceptions about mental health impact their likelihood to seek help. To explore this, I surveyed 379 people to address their personal beliefs of mental illness. To analyze the data, I split the respondents into groups of those diagnosed and those that have not been diagnosed. Of the four hypotheses, only one group was supported. After that, I ran a post hoc analysis looking at perceived societal views and that came out much stronger. Additional research needs to be done on perceived societal views and how that impacts an individual’s decision to express concerns or seek help for mental illness.

History

Degree Type

Master of Arts

Department

Communication

Campus location

Fort Wayne

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Marcia D. Dixson

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Sarah S. LeBlanc

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Kerrie R. Fineran