Discrimination in Urban Settings
Stigma against people with mental illness, mental health professionals, and mental health institutions is common around the globe and has been described for a long time. There is no doubt that stigma takes different forms from active to passive discrimination . Causes of stigma are many and stigma is related to what people see as cause of mental illness. It also depends upon how individuals and the society at large see specific mental illnesses, their causes, interventions, and outcomes. Inevitably, levels of stigma will vary across cultures and how cultures influence presentation of mental illness and how and where help is sought from. Stigma is also related to perceived and real identity of the individuals who experience mental illness. There is often wide-spread stigma against mental illness, those with mental illness, and also those who work in the field. Stigma needs to be differentiated from prejudice and from discrimination. Prejudice is also about cognitive and motivational processes which allow an individual to hold negative views about others or situations. Stigma is about creating the “other” which confirms the identity of individuals who are different from us. Discrimination against people with mental illness on the other hand works within the framework which may well be legally sanctioned. There are a number of international and regional human rights enshrined in law and also agreed between nation states. These incorporate rights such as inability to marry, inability to vote, and not being allowed to inherit property or deal with contractual matters. In this chapter, we will illustrate examples from four areas of discrimination – right to property, right to employment, right to vote, and right to marry – for which considerable evidence is available.
KeywordsStigma Discrimination Human rights Right to vote Right to marry Right to employment
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