Substance Use and Mental Illness
Subject: Substance Use & Mental Illness
Subject area: Nursing
Education Level: Masters Program
Length: 2 pages
Referencing style: APA
Preferred English: US English
Spacing Option: Double
Title: Reaction paper
Instructions: write a 2-page reaction paper about provider stigma. address ways you have witnessed social workers and other mental health professionals make disparaging or disrespectful remarks about their clients or mental health issues. finally, reflect on some of your own biases and ways you may be vulnerable to this same stigma.
Course Number: Course Name
Social workers are the first contact for patients with substance use issues or experiencing mental health problems. According to Wang et al. (2018), social workers hold different beliefs and attitudes about people with mental health conditions. For instance, social workers tend to be biased when working with substance-use clients and hold stereotypes that stigmatize those diagnosed with mental disorders. The stigmatizing attitude and social stigma undermine individual access to mental health services. These behaviors are attributable to social workers’ lack of skills to deal with substance-use and mentally ill patients (Wang, 2018). Social Workers’ lack of training results in fear and anxiety when dealing with various mental disorders. As a result, social workers tend to maintain clinical/social distance or avoid caring for the patient, which undermines the delivery of quality care and patient-provider interactions. Therefore, social workers should receive competent training to address their stigma and stereotypes about people with mental health conditions to improve outcomes and provide effective treatment.
Ways I Have Witnessed Social Workers and Other Mental Health Professionals Make Disrespectful Remarks about Their Clients
Social workers hold different attitudes and behavior towards individuals diagnosed with mental health conditions. I have experienced social workers disrespecting their patients because they suffer from mental health conditions. For instance, some social workers reprimand their clients when seeking care, especially those who visit the facility more often. Some avoid them, claiming that they might inflict harm on them. Others only attend to those who have come along with a family member while ignoring those who sought mental health services alone. Additionally, some social workers reject attending to patients with mental illness because of their appearance. Instead of referring them by their names, they label them “mentally ill”, contributing to service users’ self-stigmatization.
My Own Biases and Ways That I May Be Vulnerable To Provider Stigma
I consider people diagnosed with mental health disorders to be incompetent and dangerous. As a result, I tend to exclude them from making important decisions about their treatment plans. Additionally, I tend to give them inadequate information about their treatment options or conditions because I doubt their competence. My bias towards individuals diagnosed with mental illness compels me to maintain distance when dealing with patients diagnosed with Schizophrenia and other mental health conditions. Sometimes, I am reluctant to offer them medication counseling because I fear being attacked. Additionally, I tend to marginalize and label clients with mental health illnesses. Instead of referring them by their names, I often use the term “mentally ill” to refer to clients with mental health challenges. If a patient with mental health condition does not come with a family member, I make them wait long before accessing necessary care. I sometimes talk to patients with stigmatizing language without being sensitive.
Apart from my own biases, the institutional culture increases my vulnerability to provider stigma. For instance, healthcare provides fear patients diagnosed with severe mental disorders because of previous hostile encounters. Thus, I tend to avoid taking care of such patients. Additionally, there is a tendency to treat individuals diagnosed with mental health conditions with a defensive attitude to avoid their exaggeration of symptoms to access treatment promptly. These incidents increase my susceptibility to provider stigma.
The reflection shows that provider stigma is a considerable challenge in accessing mental health services. Therefore, healthcare institutions should invest in healthcare training to enhance their competence in treating and handling patients with mental illness. Additionally, social workers should be conscious of their language, and be compassionate to those with mental health challenges.
Wang, K., Link, B. G., Corrigan, P. W., Davidson, L., & Flanagan, E. (2018). Perceived provider stigma as a predictor of mental health service users' internalized stigma and disempowerment. Psychiatry research, 259, 526-531.