Assignment: Diagnosis: The Burden of Stigma in Help Seeking

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The threat of public stigma, as well as self-stigma, can prevent individuals from receiving the mental health treatment they need. In this Assignment, you analyze the influence of stigma on experiences with and treatment of mental illness.


To prepare: Watch the TED Talk by Sangu Delle and then review the readings for this week. Focus on Delle’s examples illustrating Corrigan’s model about the stages of stigma and the hierarchy of disclosure. Consider Delle's experience against that model.

By Day 7

Submit a 3-page paper that addresses the following:

  • Briefly explain Corrigan’s model of the stages of stigma and his recommendations and hierarchy about recovery.
  • Explain whether Delle’s experience follows that model. Use specific examples to argue your perspective. If you agree, identify which stage of recovery Delle is in.
  • Analyze Delle’s reports about his own experiences with both types of stigma. Provide specific examples, and in your analysis consider the following questions:
    • Does one type of stigma predominate in his talk?
    • Which of Delle’s personal values or beliefs were challenged by his internalizations about his own illness and help-seeking?
    • What strengths does he exhibit?
    • What was the primary benefit of his diagnosis?
    • Do you think his experience would be different if his culture was different? Explain why or why not?

Required Readings

Paris, J. (2015). The intelligent clinician's guide to the DSM-5 (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press
Chapter 4, “What Is (and Is Not) a Mental Disorder” (pp. 54–69)
Pillay, S. (2010, May 3). The dangers of self-diagnosis: How self-diagnosis can lead you down the wrong path [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/debunking-myths-the-mind/201005/the-dangers-self-diagnosis
Campbell, R. D., & Mowbray, O. (2016). The stigma of depression: Black American experiences. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 25(4), 153–269. doi:10.1080/15313204.2016.1187101
Corrigan, P. W., & Rao, D. (2012). On the self-stigma of mental illness: Stages, disclosure, and strategies for change. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 57(8), 464–469. doi:10.1177/070674371205700804
Document: How to Upload a Video and a Transcript (PDF)

Required Media

Default player --Downloads--Download Video w/CCDownload AudioDownload TranscriptLaureate Education (Producer). (2018a). Psychopathology and diagnosis for social work practice podcast: Diagnosis, self-stigma, and mental health [Audio podcast]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
TED Conferences, LLC (Producer). (2017). There’s no shame in taking care of your mental health [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/sangu_delle_there_s_no_shame_in_taking_care_of_your_mental_health

Optional Resources

Corrigan, P. W. (2007) How clinical diagnosis might exacerbate the stigma of mental illness. Social Work, 52(1), 31–39. doi:10.1093/sw/52.1.31
Johnson, J. L., Oliffe, J. L., Kelly, M. T., Galdas, P., & Ogrodniczuk, J. S. (2012). Men’s discourses of help‐seeking in the context of depression. Sociology of Health & Illness, 34(3), 345–361. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9566.2011.01372.x
Muralidharan, A., Lucksted, A., Medoff, D.,
Fang, L. J., & Dixon, L. (2016). Stigma: A unique source of distress for family members of individuals with mental illness. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 43(3), 484–493. doi:10.1007/s11414-014-9437-4
Tsang, H. W. H., Ching, S. C., Tang, K. H., Lam, H. T., Law, P. Y. Y., & Wan, C. N. (2016). Therapeutic intervention for internalized stigma of severe mental illness: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Schizophrenia Research. 173(1-2), 45–53. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2016.02.013
Document: Suggested Further Reading for SOCW 6090 (PDF)

Note: Throughout the course, you may take the opportunity to read more about many of the topics covered. This document has a list of suggested further readings organized by course week. This same document will be linked in each week.



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