First and foremost a biomedical model defines health as a composite state that is free from any discomfort, pain, or abnormalities; any deviation from this state of absolute equilibrium is considered to be a diseased state caused by a pathogenic cause. Now the biomedical model when applied to mental illness sector posits mental disorders to be brain diseases that targeted pharmacological treatment, very much like any other health care concern (Deacon, 2013). This biology focussed approach to psychiatry incorporates policy, practice and science to device a robust diseases management strategy that facilitates logical and reasonable thinking with mental illnesses. Now it has to be mentioned in this context that the integration of the biomedical model has the potential to reshape the public perception regrading the different mental illnesses. It has to be understood that the most of the stigma or isolation that society imposes on the mentally ill individuals is the complete lack of knowledge in the public regarding the different mental illnesses, the causes behind it, and the effect it imparts on the normal lifestyle and living of the individuals. With biogenetic explanation, the misconceptions and superstitions in the general public regarding the cause and effect of mental illnesses can significantly improve the health care experience that the mentally ill individuals receive (Boysen, 2011).
Now in order to explore the impact of the biogenetic explanation in improving the public perception, it is very important to discover how biogenetic explanations apply to the mental illness sector. According to the most of the research authors, the biogenetic model categorizes mental illnesses in a manner that helps in increasing the tolerance towards the mentally ill. The biogenetic model when applied to the mental health sector accomplishes two key feats; it interprets mental illnesses as the direct resultant from biochemical imbalances in the brain tissues, and integrates the possibility of genetic predisposition into the entire scenario. There have been many research studies that have been devoted to discover the impact the biogenetic explanations can facilitate better understanding in the public regrading mental illnesses (Cechnicki, Angermeyer & Bielanska, 2011).
Elaborating more on this context it has to be understood that the stigmatization that is associated with mental illnesses is in most cases manifested into social isolation and rejection. According to the most of researchers, a compassionate approach towards the mentally ill individuals can improve the well being of the patients and can even contribute to their recovery scope and timeframe. Furthermore, another very alarming concern with the mental health scenario is the fact that the health care staff also contribute to the stigmatization which further deteriorates the overall care experience that mentally unstable patients receive. In such cases incorporating a biogenetic model that provides a clear and concise explanation of the mental illnesses and help the staff perceive the mental disorder clearly and avoid the inclination to blame the diseases individual for his or her mental condition (Corrigan et al., 2012).
Now many of the researchers have deemed the biogenetic medicalization to be a positive process that has prompted the anti-stigma activities to a large extent, and one of the fruits that the efforts of this model has borne is the global interpretation of schizophrenia as a mental illness that affects the normal functioning of the brain and restricts the diseased person to perceive different facts normally and act in accordance to that (Kvaale, Gottdiener & Haslam, 2013). Depression had also been successfully established as a proven medical illness with scientific medical reasons contributing to it. It has to be mentioned in this context that the medical recognition of these mental illnesses, schizophrenia and depression as medical diseases with causes and symptoms has helped a vast proportion of patients suffering with these concerns seel out medical help and recover (Howell, Weikum & Dyck, 2011).
Elaborating more on this context it has to be mentioned that social stigma contributes to a myriad of different restrictions being established into the care of mentally ill, it complicates accommodation for the mentally ill, restricts interpersonal contact, and above all, incorporates hopelessness in the patients regarding recovery along with posing chronic challenges in the path for the patient to have emotional well being and self esteem. The key purpose behind the introduction of biogenetic explanation in the mental illness sector depends on the assumption that the awareness regarding the biogenetics of mental illnesses will positively discourage the inclination in the public to blame the victims for their sufferings. However, there is a diverse assortment of external and internal factors associated with the procedure and there had been little evidence at the extent of impact that biogenetic explanation can bring forth on the stereotypes prevalent in the society towards the concept of mental disorders (Larkings & Brown, 2017).
Shedding light on the real world scenario, there are different views recorded and represented in different research articles. According to the study by Angermeyer et al., 2011, social stigma represents the isolation and distancing largely and the authors of this article conclude that different kinds of biogenetic explanation impart differential effect on the stigmatization (Angermeyer et al., 2011). Jorm, Reavley, & Ross, 2012 in their article opined on the other hand that social stigma is multifaceted and in-depth biogenetic explanation can increase the perception of dangerousness in the public, contributing more to stigma (Jorm, Reavley & Ross, 2012). The literature published previously provide contradictory views on the effectiveness of the biogenetic explanations on reducing stigma, however according to the meta-analytic quantitative study design by Kvaale, Gottdiener & Haslam, 2013, the reduced tendency in the public to blame the mental patients for their suffering is largely related to the public endorsement of the biogenetic explanations. However it cannot be overlooked that in certain cases the level of detail incorporated in the biogenetic explanation of the mental illness has a severe impact on how it reshapes the public perception. For instance, considering a particularly severe condition as schizophrenia, a detailed biogenetic explanation is associated with stereotyping these conditions as dangerous and increasing the desire in the public to distance them from the diseased individual. On the other hand according to Kvaale, Gottdiener & Haslam, 2013, the sample population and their individual level of perception and values impart a significant effect on the effectiveness of the biogenetic explanation as well (Kvaale, Gottdiener & Haslam, 2013).
Elaborating more on this context, a number of meta-analytical studies have attempted to clear the clouded understanding of how different biogenetic explanation setting imparts differential results. Kvaale, Gottdiener & Haslam, 2013 in their articles have opined that contextual; genetic explanation of a mental illness have been found to be associated with lower stigma, whereas general biogenetic or neuro-chemical explanation is found to be associated with more stereotyping. It can be stated that distal genetic causes are perceived as less influenced by personal lifestyle choices and hence incorporate to lesser blaming or stigmatization. A contributing factor to this can be the fact that neurobiological pathways of a disease represent proximal behavioural explanations of the disease, which can be represented as antithetical to psychological explanations. This incomplete understanding of the public might lead them to believe the mentally ill patients to be more dangerous as they have neurobiological alterations contributing to unwarranted abnormal behaviours; which leads the public to feel stronger desire to distance themselves from the mental patients. Hence, when considering the anti-stigmatization campaigning, emphasizing on genetic explanations rather than general or neurobiological ones can facilitate better results and reduce the stigmatization effectively (Yang et al., 2013).
On a concluding note, it can be stated that the introduction of biogenetic explanation in the mental health sector have undoubtedly been a revolutionary step. However, the heterogeneity of the explanations approaches opted is a potential threat to the effectiveness of this initiative. The research undertaken for this paper revealed a few key information regarding how the approach can be better in integrated to accomplish the ultimate goal of a society free of stigma towards mental patients; one primary step required to be incorporated in the campaigning activities is the emphasis on detailed genetic explanation of the mental illnesses as opposed to general neurochemical approaches. It must not escape notice that educational campaigns when employed as psychosocial intervention tool, may contain beneficial as well as harmful elements and there is need for a more evidence-based approach towards designing the anti-stigma campaigns, integrating elements that will effectively reduce the stigma rather than aggravating it further. It can be hoped that true genetic explanation of mental illness can prove to be an efficient device to reduce stigma and ease the process of seeking care for the mental patients with compassion and empathy
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