Rebuttal – Xephos1

My Worthy Opponents Are Wrong

Students’ own mental health prohibits them from getting better, though one could say that the poor mental health of students is the result of a self-stigma. The theory is that students with bad mental health tend to bottle up all their emotions and they start to hate themselves for their conditions. This is, however, false, as it is not an internalized shame about having a mental illness that is the reason that the students don’t seek treatment. It is mistaken that self-stigma is the real reason that people refrain from attempting to seek help, but in actuality, it is the students’ crippled mental state that discourages them from getting the help they need.  

       Author Patrick Corrigan believes that self-stigma is a very important factor in the stigma of mental illness. In his book, The Paradox of Self-Stigma and Mental Illness, Corrigan states, “First impressions about the stigma of mental illness suggest that people with psychiatric disability, living in a society that widely endorses stigmatizing ideas, will internalize these ideas and believe that they are less valued because of their psychiatric disorder.” Corrigan believes that most people with a mental illness will keep all their feelings and emotions inside and eventually start to think of themselves as less than worthy. Corrigan is a supporter of the idea of suffering in silence as he thinks that people suffering from poor mental health would rather hold all their problems in instead of telling someone. What Corrigan fails to mention is the openness of mental health resources. The only thing stopping someone with bad mental health from seeking help is their own mental health. It is things such as anxiety that cause fear in some people which averts them from wanting to see a therapist or counselor. Many people feel they aren’t safe sharing their problems with another person. It is not because of self loathing that people avoid therapy. The resources are there for them, it is up to them to decide if they are going to accept treatment.

       While Corrigan advocates for the idea that people with bad mental health deal with it quietly all the while developing feelings of disdain for oneself, he also brings up the point that self-stigma disrupts everyday life.

       While self-stigma could have a negative impact on someone, it doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibility that poor mental health is at play when it comes to the disruption of everyday life. In his book, Self-Stigma And Coming Out About One’s Mental Illness, Corrigan claims, “Stigma has a significant and harmful impact on people with serious mental illness, interfering with important goals related to work, independent living, health, and wellness.” There is no denying that stigma is real and it does have an impact on people, but it is not that self-stigma that is keeping someone from completing their daily activities. Rather, it is the individual’s mental health that plays a role in interfering with day to day life. Conditions such as anxiety and depression can keep a person from even wanting to step outside. It is the generated fear from mental illnesses that keep people from doing what they need to do. This generated fear could be a fear of going out in public because someone doesn’t like the way their body looks. This fear can have a very demanding control on one’s life. It is easy to see how this could have been confused with the concept of self-stigma. Corrigan believes that because of an individual’s self-stigma, it leads them to take shelter from the outside world because they do not want to be stigmatized by the rest of society. In reality, anxiety and depression are the real reason for disturbing the afflicted person’s life. The idea of mental health being at the root of this issue is overlooked by Corrigan. While Corrigan thinks that a person’s self hatred is the cause for people not completing daily tasks, he missed the possibility that anxiety and depression can be contributing to the interference with everyday life. 

       In a similar way to what Corrigan states in his two books about self-stigma and the stigma of mental illness, author Mehta Swapnil believes that a stigma towards mental illness is a reason why medical students fear seeking help. 

       In their article, “Suffering in Silence: Mental Health Stigma and Physicians’ Licensing Fears,” author Mehta Swapnil points out, “As with medical students’ reluctance to seek help, the source of physician hesitancy involves fears about licensing, a medical culture that can sometimes view help-seeking behavior as a marker of weakness rather than empowerment, discrimination in hospital credentialing, and consequences pertaining to personal and liability insurance due to disclosure of mental health diagnoses.” Swapnil, like Corrigan, believes that society-induced fear is what controls mentally ill people which leads to them avoiding treatment. In this case, medical students want to hide their mental illness in fear of being seen as less than average. However, it can be argued that it is not the stigma inciting fear, but from the individual’s own mental illness. It is clear that the condition OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder is what is really at play in this circumstance. The desire to fit in and be perfect is a byproduct of this disorder. 

        Self-stigma is when a person suffering from poor mental health problems decides to keep all their problems in and eventually they begin to loathe themselves. Whether or not society-induced stigma causes this is debatable. Self-stigma is not caused by the stigma placed on by society, but rather it is caused by complications from bad mental health, namely anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The main debacle is the three of these issues all have the capability of inducing fear in the person dealing with them. This fear can make many people reluctant to go and seek help for their mental health problems. It isn’t the “fear” from mental health stigmas that drives people to turn away from help, it is the fear that is generated from different mental health problems.


  1. Mehta, S. S., Search for more papers by this author, Edwards, M. L., Mr. Swapnil S. Mehta is a fourth-year medical student at Stanford University School of Medicine, RC, K., Al., E., PS, W., BA, P., CP, G., KJ, G., KB, W., AM, F., MC, R., LB, D., LN, D., LA, W., TD, S., T, R., C, C., … CO, C. (2018, November 1). Suffering in silence: Mental health stigma and physicians’ licensing fears. American Journal of Psychiatry Residents’ Journal. Retrieved November 21, 2022, from 
  2.   Corrigan, & Watson, A. C. (2002). The Paradox of Self-Stigma and Mental Illness. Clinical Psychology (New York, N.Y.), 9(1), 35–53.
  3.   Corrigan, Morris, S., Larson, J., Rafacz, J., Wassel, A., Michaels, P., Wilkniss, S., Batia, K., & Rüsch, N. (2010). Self-stigma and coming out about one’s mental illness. Journal of Community Psychology, 38(3), 259–275.
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