Stigma is affixed on a person, by the greater society, who differs from their cultural norms. As Goffman states, stigmas are everywhere in society until they become destigmatized. Some examples stigmas that have become destigmatized are tattoos, homosexuality, and breast cancer. The stigma that has yet to be destigmatized and that I will be talking about is mental illness.
The news article that I found grasped my attention and made me realize that mental illness is surely a stigma in our society. Coming from a family where two members have mental illnesses, I can see now how mental illnesses are perceived in our society and how it is not a cultural norm. Why treat someone who suddenly started hearing voices different? They were once “normal” like yourself and I; I doubt they want to be alone and closed up in a room having pills forced down their throat.
This is how Zac felt after not telling his mother for a year that he was hearing voices, “People will judge you, especially after someone gets assaulted by a crazy guy. I could be that crazy guy.” He says that he wants to live a normal life, get a job, and start a family. How will girls perceive him once he tells them that he is schizophrenic?
Another example of a child suffering from a mental illness, is a a 7 year old schizophrenic girl that ended up being interviewed by Oprah. Her parents tried to help as much as possible to have their daughter live a normal life. As a result, her mother found other families that have children suffering from mental illnesses and began to have occasional meet-ups where their children can play and not be judged by one another. In a sense, these families have destigmatized the mental illnesses that their children developed and have accepted them for who they’ve become.