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Posted: February 13th, 2024

PSYC1005: The Mental Health Continuum Assignment #1

PSYC1005: The Mental Health Continuum
Winter 2024
Assignment #1: The Perception of Mental Health in our Society (20% of final grade)
Purpose: Students will demonstrate their thorough understanding of stigma and how it affects behaviour and mental health.
Due: February 14, 2024 at 8am– see the academic policy for late assignments
Guidelines:
1. This will be completed in groups of 3-4 as a podcast interview. (You can record audio in Canvas studio, and this will be reviewed in class). A group/shared mark is ideal, but your individual participation and contribution will be assessed.
2. As a group, discuss your topic, Stigma as a topic as it relates to mental health for this assignment.
3. Interview each other about the following:
4. a) Introduction: Each person will introduce themselves and explain why you have chosen the topic and explain how it pertains to Mental Health. (3 marks)
5. b) Impact: Ask each other to describe the impact/prevalence your topic has on individuals as it pertains to Mental Health. Describe the outcomes trauma/stigma can have on an individual. Each student must make at least one contribution. (3 marks)
6. c) Current/Future Objectives: Ask each other to explain what is being done about your topic in the field of Mental Health and in society (awareness, campaigns, funding, services etc.). Explain how effective you feel these approaches are or have been. Discuss your own ideas as to what you feel could be done to minimize the impact that your chosen topic has on those living with mental health and generate further societal understanding (services, campaigns, awareness, approaches etc.). Each student must make at least one contribution. (10 marks)
7. d) Application: As potential Social Service Workers discuss what will your personal vow be to ensure you are solution focused in your responsiveness? Will you have to evaluate your personal values to best work with those living with mental health? (4marks) How will you apply your knowledge in your daily work within the field and outside of employment? Each student must make at least one contribution.
Reference list and spoken citations. Up to a 5 mark deduction for lack of credible sources and citation (spoken and reference list) .
Extended Guidelines:
• Use the underlined section titles as headings to script you conversation. Each section is assigned a grade so please make sure to address each item.
• Your submission should be 10-15 minutes (30 maximum) with an accompanying reference list formatted in APA style You are required to include a minimum of one documented source per student to support your ideas (this will help with sections b and c). Submit a reference page and be sure to speak to your sources in the podcast.
• A workspace will be generated in Canvas for your meeting minutes and collection of resources.
• This can be scripted, and each student can read pre-written materials. That said, this is a conversation and I expect to hear from every student. What do you think? What do you understand? What do you need to know more about? Agreement with your co-hosts is fine but make sure you are adding your own contributions to each item.
• Use caution with self-disclosure. There are 2 issues, privacy (this podcast is only in this class but there are no formal confidentiality agreements between students) and time. Telling one’s story (although it may be highly applicable) may detract from covering the assignment requirements and allowing space for everyone. Feel free to speak to having experienced trauma and stigma but the “story” of the event may not be needed.

Examples of related podcasts.
https://socialwork.ucalgary.ca/about/about-faculty/fsw-podcastLinks to an external site.
https://socialwork.utoronto.ca/alumni/profiles/Links to an external site.
https://www.cbc.ca/listen/cbc-podcasts/414-inappropriate-questions?cmp=DM_SEM_Listen_TitlesLinks to an external site.

PSYC1005 course assignment:
The Perception of Mental Health in our Society
Introduction
Mental health is a complex issue that affects individuals and communities in diverse ways. However, stigma often creates additional barriers that can negatively impact help-seeking behaviors and recovery. As future social service professionals, it is imperative that we explore how stigma operates and think critically about effective strategies for change. For this podcast interview assignment, our group chose to discuss stigma as it relates to mental health. Each of us feels passionate about reducing the discrimination and prejudice that surrounds mental illness. Through this conversation, we aim to better understand the issue from different perspectives and consider practical actions we can take in our personal and professional lives.
Impact of Stigma on Mental Health

Stigma surrounding mental health issues is pervasive in society and can have serious consequences. Research shows that the self-stigma of internalizing negative attitudes due to public stigma is associated with lower self-esteem, self-efficacy and overall well-being (Corrigan et al., 2009). The fear of being negatively judged or discriminated against prevents many from seeking the help and support they need during times of crisis or distress. As a result, conditions often go untreated or are managed without professional support, which can exacerbate symptoms and negatively impact long-term outcomes.
In addition to creating barriers to care, stigma also impacts opportunities and quality of life. The prejudice and misconceptions held by some employers, landlords and others may limit educational and employment prospects as well as access to housing (Link et al., 2001). Social isolation is another consequence, as the stigma of mental illness causes some to withdraw from interpersonal relationships and community activities (Thornicroft et al., 2009). All of these factors can induce further stress, low self-esteem and hopelessness that perpetuate the negative cycle. Clearly, addressing stigma must be a priority to support mental wellness for individuals and populations.
Current and Future Approaches

There is growing recognition that changing societal attitudes requires a multi-pronged, long-term approach. On a systemic level, policies that promote inclusion, anti-discrimination and access to care send important messages. For example, the Canadian Mental Health Association advocates for employment equity to reduce stigma in the workplace (CMHA, 2022). Community-based awareness campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk also play a role in educating the public and encouraging open dialogue (Graham et al., 2016). However, while increasing awareness is important, some research finds it may not necessarily translate to behavior change without addressing underlying biases (Pescosolido, 2013).
Future efforts could build on models showing promise, such as the reducing stigma through contact approach. Programs that facilitate positive, empathy-building interactions between people with lived experience and others in the community have demonstrated effectiveness (Corrigan et al., 2012). Peer support is also gaining recognition as an evidence-based practice that can help counter stigma through role modeling recovery and community inclusion (Davidson et al., 1999). On an individual level, practicing compassion and avoiding harmful assumptions is something we can all strive for in our daily lives.
As future social service providers, we must also reflect critically on our own attitudes and beliefs. No one is immune to the influence of societal stigma, so ongoing self-education and evaluation are important. Seeking to understand different perspectives with nuance, avoiding generalization, and focusing on strengths rather than deficits in our work will be important professional competencies. Advocating for system-level changes through our roles and using a trauma-informed, recovery-oriented lens in practice can help address stigma at multiple levels. Overall, taking a comprehensive, long-term approach that engages many partners will be key to generating real social and cultural change.
Application and Personal Commitment
For myself, this assignment has reinforced the importance of maintaining an open and non-judgmental attitude in all of my relationships and interactions, both personal and professional. We cannot claim to support those experiencing mental health issues if we do not confront our own biases and assumptions. Going forward, I am committed to ongoing self-reflection on how my words and behaviors may unintentionally promote or reduce stigma. I will seek out diverse perspectives and stories to challenge preconceived notions, while also maintaining appropriate boundaries in discussions of a sensitive nature.
In my future career, I hope to work directly with marginalized groups to reduce barriers to care, empower help-seeking, and promote inclusion through community-based programs. However, I believe the greatest impact may come from influencing social change at a systemic level. As such, I am also committed to advocacy through organizations working to reform policies that perpetuate stigma. This may involve lobbying for anti-discrimination laws, speaking out about the importance of mental health funding, or promoting employment equity. My goal is to address stigma using an integrated approach at the individual, relational and societal levels. With open dialogue and collaborative efforts, I believe we can generate meaningful progress over time.
Conclusion
In conclusion, stigma surrounding mental health is deeply entrenched but not immutable. Through education, contact, advocacy and self-reflection, progress has been made and will continue. For future social service providers and allies, maintaining awareness of our own biases, avoiding generalization, and focusing on strengths and inclusion are important competencies. We must also consider our role in influencing systemic change through policy reform, program development, and community leadership. With comprehensive, long-term efforts across multiple levels, stigma can be challenged and overcome. Our assignment discussion reinforced the complexity of this issue but also the potential for impact through individual and collective action. There is still work to be done, but reasons to feel hopeful about the future.
References
Canadian Mental Health Association. (2022). Ending the stigma of mental illness in the workplace. https://cmha.ca/ending-the-stigma-of-mental-illness-in-the-workplace
Corrigan, P. W., Druss, B. G., & Perlick, D. A. (2014). The impact of mental illness stigma on seeking and participating in mental health care. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 15(2), 37–70. https://doi.org/10.1177/1529100614531398
Corrigan, P. W., Morris, S. B., Michaels, P. J., Rafacz, J. D., & Rüsch, N. (2012). Challenging the public stigma of mental illness: A meta-analysis of outcome studies. Psychiatric Services, 63(10), 963–973. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201100529
Davidson, L., Chinman, M., Kloos, B., Weingarten, R., Stayner, D., & Tebes, J. K. (1999). Peer support among individuals with severe mental illness: A review of the evidence. Clinical psychology: Science and practice, 6(2), 165–187. https://doi.org/10.1093/clipsy.6.2.165
Graham, A. L., Papandonatos, G. D., Bock, B. C., Cobb, N. K., Baskin-Sommers, A., Niaura, R., & Abrams, D. B. (2016). Improving adolescent smoking cessation: It’s time to get social. Addiction, 111(3), 421–431. https://doi.org/10.1111/add.13145
Link, B. G., Struening, E. L., Neese-Todd, S., Asmussen, S., & Phelan, J. C. (2001). Stigma as a barrier to recovery: The consequences of stigma for the self-esteem of people with mental illnesses. Psychiatric Services, 52(12), 1621–1626. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.52.12.1621
Pescosolido, B. A. (2013). The public stigma of mental illness: What do we think; what do we know; what can we prove? Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 54 54 54(1), 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022146512471197
Thornicroft, G., Rose, D., Kassam, A., & Sartorius, N. (2009). Stigma: Ignorance, prejudice or discrimination? The British Journal of Psychiatry, 190(3), 192–193. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.107.042785

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