My Topic: My topic is on stigma associated with mental illnesses – specifically, in college students.
My Essays: My first essay was a definition paper; I defined what stigma was, and how it is associated with mental illnesses. I related it to college, and said how it is possible for students to feel depressed and alone while they are away at school. This is why it is important for them to feel as if they have friends that support them, and do not judge them for their mental illness. I included examples of stigma, and said how college students may feel isolated and alone. I wanted to explain stigma as much as I could so my audience had a clear idea of what it was.
My second essay was a rebuttal essay; I refuted the idea that those who are mentally ill are “crazy”, or “dangerous”. I explained how just because someone has a mental illness, does not mean that they are a bad person, or crazy. For my final essay, I did a proposal paper, where I suggested solutions to reducing stigma associated with mental illness. I related it to college students, and explained how there should be educational programs on it in classrooms
My Research Methods: To find articles, I went to Rowan’s library website, and looked at the databases that they provided. I would select the “Academic Search Premier”, and type in key words of what research I was looking for. Sometimes I would use the “Psychology Journal” database. Also, I did not ask friends or family about my topic; however, I used myself as a baseline of what I was writing about. I know what it is like to feel alone and judged, and I wanted to write essays that demonstrated how stigma is a national problem that needs to be changed.
Final Observations: I learned that there are other countries in the world that are trying to reduce stigma against mental illnesses. I was also reminded of words that come to mind to the people who stigmatize those who are mentally ill; some of the words include “nuts”, “psycho”, “weird” etc. It also seemed as if stigma as decreased over the years, compared to 2007; however, it is definitely still a problem and is not free from our world. I still think that there needs to be more awareness on it. The research did not change my perspective – it enhanced it. There were so many articles that were protesting against people who have stigma towards those with mental illnesses. It was nice to see that multiple sources are writing about this topic. In the future, I hope that people can become more understanding, and try to imagine themselves in someone else’s shoes. I hope that stigma can be diminished so that those who are struggling do not have to feel alone and afraid of what others think of them.