The threat of public stigma, as well as self-stigma, can prevent individuals from receiving the mental health treatment they need. In this Assignment, you analyze the influence of stigma on experiences with and treatment of mental illness.

To prepare: Watch the TED Talk by Sangu Delle and then review the readings for this week. Focus on Delle’s examples illustrating Corrigan’s model about the stages of stigma and the hierarchy of disclosure. Consider Delle’s experience against that model.


  • Briefly explain Corrigan’s model of the stages of stigma and his recommendations and hierarchy about recovery.
  • Explain whether Delle’s experience follows that model. Use specific examples to argue your perspective. If you agree, identify which stage of recovery Delle is in.
  • Analyze Delle’s reports about his own experiences with both types of stigma. Provide specific examples, and in your analysis consider the following questions:
    • Does one type of stigma predominate in his talk?
    • Which of Delle’s personal values or beliefs were challenged by his internalizations about his own illness and help-seeking?
    • What strengths does he exhibit?
    • What was the primary benefit of his diagnosis?
    • Do you think his experience would be different if his culture was different? Explain why or why not?


The Burden of Stigma in Help-Seeking: Case Study

Tolulope I. Moses

Master of Social Work, Walden University

SOCW 6090: Psychopath & Diagnosis

Dr Felicia Wilson

December 2021

The Burden of Stigma in Help-Seeking

The stigma of mental illness refers to societal disapproval and discriminatory attributes to the mental illness. People with mental illnesses or those seeking treatment for emotional distress, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or PTSD, are stigmatized in society (Stolzenburg et al., 2017). In a four-step model, the Corrigan model explains the various stages of stigma. The paper will discuss Corrigan’s stages of the self-stigma model and how it impacted Sangu Delle’s cultural beliefs and learned behavior of viewing mental illness.

“Corrigan’s Model of the Stages of Stigma and Recommendations and Hierarchy of Recovery”

The Corrigan model describes the stages of stigma in a four-step model, stereotype awareness, personal agreement, self-concurrence, and self-harm. In the stereotype awareness stage, most victims avoid seeking help because of a lack of awareness and social belief that mental health issues are a sign of weakness. The personal agreement stage emphasizes that if one is mentally ill, they are probably weak, and the victims often believe the public stigma to be true. In the application stage, the victim undermines the need for assistance by thinking they are mentally ill and weak for struggling with mental issues. Additionally, they may often feel isolated since most of them shy away from speaking out and denying their mental health concerns. Lastly, the harm stage reinforces the individual’s belief that they are worthless and irredeemable.

Therefore, Corrigan’s primary goal is providing mental health and rehabilitative services to help people achieve their work, relationship goals, and independent living. Corrigan recommends using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to teach clients to differentiate between self-sabotage and self-will through weekly group sessions to debunk negative self-talk and allow the patient to overcome self-stigma (Göpfert et al.,2019).

Delle’s Experience and the Corrigan Model

Delle’s talk on the video “There’s No Shame in Taking Care of Your Mental Health” exhibits the Corrigan model of the Stages of Stigma in his struggle with mental illness. He stated that he could not work or even want to get out of bed in some days. Finally, he decided to see a doctor about his issues and reported being asked to speak to a professional to address his stress and anxiety. Delle immediately shut down and reverted to his cultural upbringing and responded, “Does she not know I’m an African man?” Delle was talking about stereotype awareness, which is the first stage in the Corrigan’s model. Comment by HP: “Entitled” means something totally different from what you intended to write here. Comment by HP: Corrigan awareness??

Delle further explains that males are told to hide their feelings in Africa, and expressing their feelings is taboo. Society views individuals with mental illness as madmen and drug abusers. A total of 34 % of Nigerians blame drugs for mental illness, while another 31% blame God, witchcraft, or possession. Consequently, it explains the agreement in stage two of Corrigan’s model regarding being weak; society believes (Delle, 2017).

Types of Stigma

Stigma is classified into two types: public and self-stigma. Stereotypes, allegiance to false beliefs, and discriminatory behavior are all examples of public stigma. Self-stigma refers to the internalized beliefs about oneself that result from repeated stigmatizing thoughts (Corrigan et al., 2019). Sangu Delle spoke on both forms of stigma; however, he predominately spoke on public stigma. He talked to the public and encouraged spreading mental awareness because there is no shame in advocating care for mental health. Delle reported a case in which a woman was rushed to the hospital for medical treatment; however, after a mental illness diagnosis was made, the local clergy came to perform an exorcism. Dell asserts that it is just one of the many social injustices people with mental illnesses face (Delle, 2017). Therefore, lack of public awareness and negativity contributes to more issues with self-stigma, which is a critical factor in one’s self-esteem. Comment by HP: Avoid capitalizing words that are not proper nouns within sentences.

Delle’s Values

Delle’s values and beliefs were tested when his best friend was diagnosed with schizophrenia and faced his fears, anxiety, and self-doubt. Delle believed he could fix his anxiety and violently shook his head when asked about seeing a mental health professional because it contradicted his masculinity expectations. Both application and harm marked Delle’s life due to his fear of becoming “that madman” (Delle, 2017). However, having suffered from mental illness, he knew that the only way to remove the stigma was to address his mental health problem. As a result, he was eager to assist others in their recovery.

Delle’s Strengths

Delle exhibits strength by advocating for living a better life with a mental illness by not abandoning his friend even though others shied away. Moreover, he found the strength to be the voice for his mental health, as well as voicing the need for change in his fellow Africans, stating, “We must regard mental health as equally important as physical health” (Delle, 2017). He further showcased strength by willing to face backlash from his home, Africa. Delle also added that “African governments invest less than one percent of their health-care budget in mental health.” Furthermore, it takes courage to speak in front of people who cannot relate to him. However, his passion does not allow fear, judgment, or anything else to get in the way of the message and the change. He also provided supporting data and statistics and spoke in a nonjudgmental manner so that people could understand where he was coming from, even if it was not a personal experience they shared. Delle’s TED talk illustrated how he dealt with the problem rather than allowing it to deal with him; this is the ability to empower through broadcast, embracing not backing down from mental illness, and the ripple effect of stigma. Delle’s main advantage was that he did not “suffer in silence.” He sought help and is now aware of his diagnosis, accepts it, and speaks confidently about mental health (Delle, 2017). Therefore, motivating the population on mental health awareness and eliminating negative stereotypes.

 Delle’s experience if his culture was different.

Delle’s experience would not have been different. I believe Delle would have faced some of the same stigmas if he had lived in America, where the culture is different from Africa. According to Campbell and Mowbray’s (2016) research, Black Americans face similar stigmas. They are expected to be “strong black women or men.” An intriguing aspect of the study was how the black community slanders the mentally ill by referring to them as “crazy like those white people” (Campbell & Mowbray, 2016). The study also found that blacks perceived themselves to be more stigmatized than other races. Delle would have faced similar beliefs if he had been born as a black man in America, as he did in Nigeria. However, he might not have faced such an uphill battle if he had been born of a different race.

In conclusion, Delle’s cultural beliefs influenced his reluctance to self-disclose his mental illness. Therefore, society must begin with self-stigma concerning mental illness. Since self-stigma will never be eradicated, but empowerment can be achieved through self-advocacy. The use of self-disclosure or selective disclosure provides forms of divulgence that allow a person with mental illness to rally for anti-stigmatization while also protecting and providing a safe environment for other people who struggle with mental illness


Campbell, R. D., & Mowbray, O. (2016). The Stigma of depression: Black American experiences. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 25(4), 253–269

Corrigan, P. W., Nieweglowski, K., & Sayer, J. (2019). Self‐stigma and the mediating impact of the “why try” effect on depression. Journal of Community Psychology47(3), 698-705.

Delle, S. (2017). There’s no shame in taking care of your mental health. TED. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from

Göpfert, N. C., Conrad von Heydendorff, S., Dreßing, H., & Bailer, J. (2019). Applying Corrigan’s progressive model of self-stigma to people with depression. PloS one14(10), e0224418.

Stolzenburg, S., Freitag, S., Evans-Lacko, S., Muehlan, H., Schmidt, S., & Schomerus, G. (2017). The Stigma of mental illness as a barrier to self-labeling as having a mental illness. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 205(12), 903-909.

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