New Delhi, December 6- When a person suffered with a condition or a serious ailment, one is always in need of far more support, understanding and empathy from the people around than in normal circumstances. Receiving great amount of love and sensitive care can boost their mental health and thus help the patient psychologically to put trust in one’s treatment. However, a patient’s mental will to fight the ailment can be adversely affected if one faces social exclusion and abject discrimination due to one’s element.
When a group of people refrain from associating themselves with a person whonis having some or the other form of illnesses and conditions, it is known as social distancing.
The feeling of being discriminated against is highly detrimental to one’s self-esteem and confidence and could result in feelings of exclusion and social withdrawal.
Speaking to Healthwire on the subject, Dr. Farha Rizvi, a Clinical Psychologist, currently associated with ERA’s Medical College and Hospital, Lucknow, said, “Stigma and indifference of society can break a patient’s confidence or belief in an effective recovery. It also results in poor, unprofessional treatment of the patient. Mentally, a patient with HIV, disability, cancer or people with special with special needs, feel demoralised and lack of feeling of belongingness to a set of people or place. It may also lead to I’ll response to one’s medical treatment.”
“A potentially fruitful area for intervention that could reduce patients’ perception of serious illness stigma is a good “patient-provider communication” which is like “developing a communication to improve doctors’ communication with the affected patients and the educationg the common man about the diseases to allay their fears could improve patients’ psychological strength to as the stigma would be reduced gradually.” Psychologically this will ultimately motivate serious illness patients to lead a better life,” she suggested.
“Stigma and social exclusion can not only effect mental health of patients but it also blocks many others’ access to treatment and services in many ways as people are scared to come out with their ailments and condition due to the unaccommodating nature of the society at large, thus increasing the chance of making onwards transmission more likely,” highlighted Dr. Rizvi.
“The removal of barriers to these services and the awareness that mental health, here in the the form of a positive feeling of recovery, which plays a major role helping the patients’ bodies to accept the treatment, is key to ending many diseases and conditions people are suffering with across the world,” she asserted.
While counting the steps the society can take to overcome social stigma, she said, “Organizing camps and programmes that emphasise the rights is a great way of eradicating stigma. Common people should be made aware about the rights of such patients and be taught about the importance of empathy towards these people who have equal rights as us in the society. Strict laws should also be in place to punish those who mistreat them and promote social stigma.”