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Posted: February 27, 2014

Mental illness stigma prevents many from getting help, study says


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By Candice Aviles

Mental illnesses may not be easy to talk about for those affected by it. But a new study says some of that difficulty may stem from the stigma associated with the disease.

An estimated 1 in 4 people have a mental health issue. According to the study from King's College London, in the U.S. and Europe as many as 75 percent of them don’t get help. (Via CNN)

One of the more prominent reasons why that number is so high is stigma, which the study says is the fourth-highest barrier stopping people from getting help. The study cites two specific stigmas — the stigma of getting treatment and internalized stigma or feeling embarrassed. (Via King’s College London)

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When it comes to certain mental disorders like depression, anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorder, delayed help can make them even worse. This is an idea echoed by psychiatrist Catherine Birndorf.

“So often because of the stigma people will not get the help they need, suffer in silence and live a very unfulfilled life, where the potential would be tremendous were they to get treatment," Birndorf said. (Via Everyday Health)

Stigma also seemed to affect certain groups of people more than others like those in the military and health professions, people in minority ethnic groups, young people and men. (Via King’s College London)

The study found other main barriers including the fear of acknowledging a mental health condition, confidentiality concerns, wanting to handle it on one’s own, and denial.

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