Mental Illness as a Subculture: Common Attitudes and Beliefs - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1405 Words
Date:  2022-12-27


Subculture is a smaller culture within a community with common beliefs, values, or traditions. Persons who belong to the same subculture tend to think in the same direction and hold relatively similar attitudes to the way life appears. This is because they undergo similar circumstances with relatively smaller variance. Mental illness is one of such subcultures that are common among the people in the world today. According to Quinn et al. (2015), persons with mental disorders have a shared attitude to the way life is, and they tend to hold particular beliefs on certain matters which make them vulnerable to numerous mental circumstances (14). Therefore, persons with mental disorders display distinct characteristic behaviors with which they are known. Below is a detailed discussion of those behaviors with a detailed analysis of their underlying factors including attitudes, mindset, and views of life that lead to those behaviors.

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Kosyluk et al. (2016), in their article entitled, "Challenging the stigma of mental illness among college students," set out to find out why students with mental illness are vulnerable to depression. According to Kosyluk et al. (2016), persons with mental disorders usually think that they are the odd one out in the school. This research is in agreement with the one carried out by Patrick Corrigan (2016). In his research article entitled, "Lessons learned from unintended consequences about erasing the stigma of mental illness," Corrigan found that persons with mental illness often feel not being part of the community. The community, in this case (Corrigan 5), can involve small groups of people among which the person with mental illness belongs. The community, therefore, can be a student community, fellow workers, or even a religious community. Often times, persons with mental illness face various challenges when interacting with colleagues in those communities (Corrigan 9). For example, in a student community, people normally interact with each freely. The free interaction is the desire for every person since we are social beings. However, this free interaction with others might not be the case for students whom their colleagues know to be suffering from mental illness due to prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination by other students (Kosyluk et al. 23). For that reason, the students with mental illness are consistently isolated from the others, and no one is willing to spend time with them or be identified with them. Therefore, students with mental illness experience a lot of discrimination from their fellow students. It is very sympathetic to see a person so much depressed that they could not eat. Kosyluk et al. (2016) found that prolonged depression among students with mental disorders might lead to eventual loss of appetite. They do not just want to eat or drink because they are heavily stressed and have an extremely high emotional mood. As a result, they develop a negative attitude towards life. According to Kosyluk et al. (2016), they have the feeling that life is unfair to them and they consider themselves unfit even to live (12). This comes with the heavy stress especially when they are alone idle. The distress normally grows to depression and acute sarcasm.

Quinn, Michelle, and Bradley (2015), in their book, "From discrimination to internalized mental illness stigma: The mediating roles of anticipated discrimination and anticipated stigma," found that mental illness subculture is also imbued with self-sympathetic feelings. They just feel sympathy for themselves. As a result, they tend to take things the way they are and assume that it is alright. According to Quinn et al. (2015), persons with mental illness may sometime hold themselves responsible for the feelings of discrimination thy experience. They feel that other people are just right to treat them with contempt with the feeling that they are the ones on the wrong side. This adds up to become a fierce self-blame for what they say, do or think about. As a result, persons with mental illness undergo fierce pity for themselves and regard themselves as misfits in society (Quinn et al. 19). They feel bad about life, and they may also hold feelings of regret for having been born. They do not like their situations but of course; there is no way they can isolate themselves with the situation. So, they have to find out the most appropriate way to cope up with the situation at hand and survive. However, Quinn et al. (2015) noted that some of them end up inflicting intentional injuries on themselves (21). Self-injury may be in the form of burning oneself, scratching their bodies painfully, or even beating their bodies with something to lessen their high emotional feelings.

According to Nigatu et al. (2016), some persons with mental illness might feel unfit to marry and raise a family (16). Following a series of discriminations they normally undergo, Nigatu et al. (2016) noted that some persons with mental illness might shy away from the marriage with worries of whether they will be able to keep a happy family (16). The feelings come as a result of the stored discriminatory feelings in their minds from the past events in their life. They are worried about someone who might even accept them as their couple and whether the marriage itself would be successful. Nigatu et al. (2016) added that some persons with mental illness might also shun marriage in fear of heartbreak in the future (21). They just think that the person with whom they engage in marriage might sometime in the future turn against them and break the relationship with them. This causes a lot of strong fear among them that makes them run away from marriage. However, Kosyluk et al. (2016) observed that some of the persons with mental illness might involve themselves in promiscuity especially among the college students. Writing about this, Kosyluk et al. (2016) argued that promiscuity is rampant majorly among females with mental illness. Females with mental illness practice promiscuity because they want to have the people around them to avoid loneliness. Females with mental illness might mostly be discriminated by their fellow female counterparts without mental illness. However, some men might easily engage with them for sexual purposes. Even with the knowledge of the sexual motive men have for them, they easily fall into it to avoid loneliness and also to curb depression (Kosyluk et al. 15).

Moreover, Corrigan (2016), in his book entitled "Lessons learned from unintended consequences about erasing the stigma of mental illness," noted that some persons with mental illness believe that all people regardless of their status have some level of mental illness. This belief, Corrigan notes that they use to justify their state of mental illness as normal. According to Corrigan (2016), some persons with mental illness feel that even if someone has never been diagnosed with mental illness, they have a hidden one that might arise at one point of time in their life, or that shows up at certain situations in their life (16). For that reason, these persons with mental illness comfort themselves that they are just part of the bigger group of persons with mental illness although in varying extents. The feeling makes them get the strength to live on an carry out activities normally as others do without regard to discrimination. This feeling is somehow positive because it makes them feel strong and not different from the general population in the community. This feeling helps persons with mental illness to cope up easily with their vulnerabilities such as depression, self-injury, and self-pity that they would have experienced if they did not consider themselves worthy in life. The feeling that everyone has some level of mental illness makes them feel that they are not alone or different from the general population. They feel part of the community. For that reason, some of the persons with mental illness find it very easy for them to share their personal feelings openly with others with no fear of discrimination. This helps them heal from their past and present experiences and brings them closer to other people in the community.

Works Cited

Corrigan, Patrick W. "Lessons learned from unintended consequences about erasing the stigma of mental illness." World Psychiatry 15.1 (2016): 67-73.

Kosyluk, Kristin A., et al. "Challenging the stigma of mental illness among college students." Journal of adolescent health59.3 (2016): 325-331.

Nigatu, Y. T., et al. "Interventions for enhancing the return to work in individuals with a common mental illness: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials." Psychological medicine 46.16 (2016): 3263-3274.

Quinn, Diane M., Michelle K. Williams, and Bradley M. Weisz. "From discrimination to internalized mental illness stigma: The mediating roles of anticipated discrimination and anticipated stigma." Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal 38.2 (2015): 103.

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Mental Illness as a Subculture: Common Attitudes and Beliefs - Essay Sample. (2022, Dec 27). Retrieved from

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