Mental Health Disorder Stigma in the Military and Civilian Workforce


Mental illnesses can affect all members of a society irrespective of gender, ethnicity, and social status. Cases of discrimination and prejudice continue to be associated with these conditions. The malpractice makes it impossible for the patients to pursue their goals and lead high-quality lives. The completed study has identified stigma as a recurring theme in both the civilian and military workforce. The findings support a coordinated approach that brings together different professionals to design and implement superior initiatives that can meet the demands of the affected patients.


Stigma remains a common challenge many people with mental illnesses and developmental disorders face in their lives. Members of the public might be unwilling to support or help individuals with various psychological conditions. Some patients will have increased chances of developing self-stigma by turning against their careers, goals, and life experiences. This form of disapproval and discrimination will affect the victim’s performance or achievements. Although mental health disorder stigma is a common problem many patients in military and civilian workforces encounter, soldiers experience additional psychological predicaments due to the organizational culture established in their respective work environments.

Literature Review

The U.S. Department of Defence (DoD) and other agencies have implemented powerful strategies to improve the nature and quality of mental health services available to service members. Unfortunately, Stana et al. (2017) observed that majority of the affected soldiers were reluctant to seek treatment and care. Most of the victims tend to record wide-ranging impacts and symptoms that have the potential to affect their economic and social gains. Most of the soldiers in different military groups would avoid any form of support. This malpractice increases the risk of additional challenges, including the inability to achieve personal and organizational goals.

Similarly, civilians with mental conditions will encounter numerous challenges that make it impossible for them to lead high-quality lives. For instance, they might be unable to access timely medical support if their family members and relatives are uninvolved (Qasim et al., 2020). Others will record additional problems due to the absence of proper care delivery mechanisms and clinics in their neighborhoods. The available services are also incapable of providing sustainable support to underserved members of the community with mental illnesses.

Stigma has featured prominently in most of the studies completed in the past to learn more about these conditions. For instance, Ahuja et al. (2017) identified it as one of the leading challenges that made it impossible for most of the affecting individuals to pursue their goals in life. However, various agencies and departments had collaborated with different stakeholders to develop appropriate programs, campaigns, and policies to minimize the level of stigma to patients suffering from mental illnesses (Ahuja et al., 2017). Such measures have been intended to increase the availability of medical support and guide the affected individuals to lead high-quality and better lives.

Unfortunately, most of the introduced systems and practices have done very little to address the problem of stigma. Consequently, more patients in this country are still unable to engage in help-seeking behaviors. This reality reveals that there are numerous gaps that make the available campaigns ineffective or incapable of meeting the demands of the targeted beneficiaries (Knaak et al., 2017). The absence of practical mechanisms to reduce the level of stigma explains why the problem affects many people in this country. Despite the nature of these findings, very little evidence exists to explain the nature of this predicament and how it affects military personnel and civilians with mental illnesses (Cederbaum et al., 2017). The intended research study will present additional insights that can guide different professionals to implement evidence-based programs to meet the demands of most of the affected individuals.

Research Methodology


The selected hypothesis for the study was: There are significant differences in the nature and level of mental health disorder stigma in the military and civilian workforce.

Research Questions

These two research questions formed the basis for this study:

  • What is the nature of stigma in the military and civilian workforce?
  • What are the differences in the level and nature of mental health disorder stigma in the military and civilian workforce?

Research Design

A simple research design was considered for this analysis to support the delivery of timely and convincing results. A detailed qualitative study was completed targeting journal articles published within the past five years (Stana et al., 2017). The information was obtained from peer-reviewed journals focusing on the issues of mental illnesses and stigma in civilians and service members.

Findings and Discussions

Mental illness is a condition that many people interpret or view differently depending on their careers, societal norms, and beliefs. The stigma becomes a common issue when focusing on these disorders since some of the people are ignorant. The affected person would be unable to lead a high-quality life due to discrimination, abuse, or torture (Qasim et al., 2020). Among members of the public, people with mental illnesses will lack basic support and care. Some family members might be unwilling to take their patients to hospitals simply because they do not want to be associated with the conditions. The available counseling and empowerment programs are either inadequate or incapable of providing high-quality services to most individuals.

Within the civilian workforce, stigma remains a major problem since the patients might have reduced chances of receiving personalized support. Some of the leaders and supervisors will be quick to retrench employees who develop any form of mental illness. Those who are lucky not to lose their jobs might lack the relevant natural support systems and counseling to overcome the illness (Ahuja et al., 2017). They will become unhappy and find it hard to cope. Similarly, some of the workmates might become unresponsive to their needs and fail to offer the required support. Consequently, the patients’ conditions will worsen, and eventually find it hard to record positive experiences in life. Due to this form of stigma, such workers might decide to quit their jobs and eventually lead low-quality lives.

The nature and type of mental illness are capable of dictating the nature or level of discrimination in the civilian workforce and society. Coleman et al. (2017) indicate that mental conditions will vary greatly and present a wide range of symptoms. This fact explains why the level of stigma for one condition might differ significantly from that of another (Bryan et al., 2020). For example, depression is a mental illness that might not be associated with an increasing level of prejudice or discrimination in different work environments. However, schizophrenia is more complicated and associated with mysterious symptoms, such as hallucinations (Coleman et al., 2017). The absence of adequate information and knowledge regarding this mental condition among members of the public could explain why stigma remains a major concern.

Similarly, military personnel operates in demanding and challenging situations that could affect their overall experiences and achievements. Some of these individuals have accepted a culture of masculinity that compels them to remain strong and focus on the best ways to achieve success. Unfortunately, the nature of command fails to consider some of the best ways to help and meet the psychological demands of most of the soldiers. Those who have served in troubled and chaotic regions might experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This mental illness has the potential to affect individuals’ experiences and achievements (Knaak et al., 2017). Additionally, some of the service members might go through periods of depressions and anxiety. These problems will exist due to the absence of proper support and counseling systems.

Soldiers expect their colleagues to remain strong and avoid showing their symptoms or pain. Consequently, most depressed persons will decide to hide their problems until their situations and conditions worsen. Such individuals will find it hard to lead high-quality lives or pursue their goals. Holland (2020) believes that the culture associated with the military compels colleagues to stigmatize and ignore the plight of depressed individuals or those with various mental illnesses. Such a tradition also discourages most of the soldiers from getting the available support and counseling because they do not want to be identified as weak (Rössler, 2016). These issues increase the risk for more complex and complicated mental illnesses.

Self-stigma is a major issue affecting most of the soldiers in different regiments or deployments. Some of these individuals will be unhappy with their situations and even identify new ways to address their problems. This issue could explain why suicide remains a common occurrence among service members. The affected individuals will experience feelings of hatred and anger (Cederbaum et al., 2017). Their untreated or unmanaged conditions could also trigger suicidal thoughts.

From these analyses, it is evident that stigma is a common problem both military personnel and civilians encounter in their lives. However, Hernandez et al. (2016) present a unique and different view of this issue. He believes that servicemen have increased chances of facing this challenge in comparison with other members of society (Hernandez et al., 2016). The emerging argument is that such soldiers operate in a culture that is oppressive and manipulative. Some of the people will hide their conditions while engaging in self-stigma. Their conditions will worsen and eventually find it hard to cope. The good news is that medical experts, psychologists, and psychotherapies can consider the nature of these issues and present an evidence-based initiative that can address these patients’ needs (Knaak et al., 2017). Educational campaigns targeting members of the public will deliver positive outcomes by encouraging more individuals to support most of the affected citizens.


The completed research paper has identified stigma as a common problem both service members and workers in civilian organizations encounter in their lives. The cultures existing in both fields enable this form of malpractice, thereby making it hard for the affected patients to lead high-quality lives. Evidence is also mixed regarding the true nature and causes of stigma in the civilian and military workforces. Nonetheless, the collaboration of all key stakeholders and partners will result in superior models that can reduce the impacts of this problem.


Ahuja, K. K., Dhillon, M., Juneja, A., & Sharma, B. (2017). Breaking barriers: An education and contact intervention to reduce mental illness stigma among Indian college students. Psychosocial Intervention, 26(2), 103-109. Web.

Bryan, C. J., Wood, D., Applegarth, M., & Bryan, A. O. (2020). Subtypes of mental health stigma and barriers to care among National Guard personnel: Results of a latent class analysis. Armed Forces & Society, 46(3), 424-437. Web.

Cederbaum, J., Wilcox, S., Sullivan, K., Lucas, C., & Schuyler, A. (2017). The influence of social support on dyadic functioning and mental health among military personnel during postdeployment reintegration. Public Health Reports (1974-), 132(1), 85-92. Web.

Coleman, S. J., Stevelink, S. A. M., Hatch, S. L., Denny, J. A., & Greenberg, N. (2017). Stigma-related barriers and facilitators to help seeking for mental health issues in the armed forces: A systematic review and thematic synthesis of qualitative literature. Psychological Medicine, 47(11), 1880-1892. Web.

Hernandez, S. H., Morgan, B. J., & Parshall, M. B. (2016). Resilience, stress, stigma, and barriers to mental healthcare in U.S. air force nursing personnel. Nursing Research, 65(6), 481-486. Web.

Holland, D. (2020). College student stress and mental health: Examination of stigmatic views on mental health counseling. Michigan Sociological Review, 30, 16-43. Web.

Knaak, S., Mantler, E., & Szeto, A. (2017). Mental illness-related stigma in healthcare: Barriers to access and care and evidence-based solutions. Healthcare Management Forum, 30(2), 111-116. Web.

Qasim, S., McKeown, M., Kunda, C., Wainwright, J. P., & Khan, R. (2020). Plant fetish: A creative challenge to mental health stigma. Genealogy, 4(2), 40-57. Web.

Rössler, W. (2016). The stigma of mental disorders: A millennia-long history of social exclusion and prejudices. EMBO Reports, 17(9), 1250-1253. Web.

Stana, A., Flynn, M. A., & Almeida, E. (2017). Battling the stigma: Combat veterans’ use of social support in an online PTSD forum. International Journal of Men’s Health, 16(1), 20-36. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. (2023, September 22). Mental Health Disorder Stigma in the Military and Civilian Workforce. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2023, September 22). Mental Health Disorder Stigma in the Military and Civilian Workforce.

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"Mental Health Disorder Stigma in the Military and Civilian Workforce." PsychologyWriting, 22 Sept. 2023,


PsychologyWriting. (2023) 'Mental Health Disorder Stigma in the Military and Civilian Workforce'. 22 September.


PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Mental Health Disorder Stigma in the Military and Civilian Workforce." September 22, 2023.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Mental Health Disorder Stigma in the Military and Civilian Workforce." September 22, 2023.


PsychologyWriting. "Mental Health Disorder Stigma in the Military and Civilian Workforce." September 22, 2023.