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Current social issue, relevant to social work practice VS interest in the social work profession

Hiddengrace 6 / 118 68  
Jan 30, 2016   #1
Hi again EF! I'm just finishing up my last SOP, and it's due Monday. I need a help, edits, and suggestions on how to make certain parts of it sound less academic. From the prompt and instructions, I get the idea that it's supposed to sound academic because it says to make sure you use proper APA formatting for your references and sources (though others I know that are applying said they didn't take it that way). . But it kind of feels too much like a paper and less like an SOP, especially the first 2 paragraphs in this except as compared with the latter two. I'm only including the sections that I need help with and not the entire essay, so keep in mind this isn't the way the SOP starts or ends; this is in the middle. This is also a totally different SOP than the other one I posted, but some paragraphs are the same.

Please thoroughly discuss a current social issue that is relevant to social work practice and fostered or confirmed your interest in the social work profession. You also may mention additional reasons for deciding to pursue graduate social work study at this time. Then, please discuss your career interests and/or objectives and how you plan to take advantage of the resources at Fordham University's Graduate School of Social Service to support you in your goals

Mental health stigma deprives people of valid and deserved opportunities in many aspects of life. Losing opportunities in the workplace, relationships, healthcare and housing all affect the ability to achieve a full life. As a society, we have dedicated time and research to discover the best methods to treat and support people with mental illness, and now it is time to devote the same energy and commitment to combat mental health stigma. Awareness and understanding of what causes mental illnesses like depression are a great start. Unfortunately, the effects mental illnesses have on people in society are often overlooked. Mental health stigma happens because society views mental health illnesses as shameful, abnormal and even dangerous, which leads to classifying people suffering from mental disorders as unwanted and offensive. According to Serani (2011), "stigmatizing beliefs cause a person living with depression to have a diminished sense of self, feel socially disconnected from others, and, as such, have fewer support systems." This leads to a fear of stigma so strong that people with mental illness do not receive the help they truly need.

There isn't one type of stigma; rather, there are multiple types of stigma that are defined by interactions with society. According to Corrigan, Roe, and Tsang (2011), "public stigma is the harmful effect that occurs when the general population endorses prejudice and subsequently discriminates against people with mental illness" (p. 14). Public stigma uses false information to perpetuate society's fear of mental illness. When public stigma is internalized, a negative self-identity is formed. Self-stigma uses the attitudes of society to create feelings of blame, shame, and negative self-beliefs about capabilities or worthiness. Being labeled as a person with a mental illness creates another type of stigma. Instead of being seen as a person who also has a mental health disorder, society sees the disorder as the only important defining factor. As Serani (2011) explains, "the language of a diagnosis can make having a mental illness stigmatizing."

Through my experience both in and out of the classroom, I've observed that society acknowledges mental health in a way that accepts its importance but dismisses its relevance. The lack of knowledge or visual proof creates the illusion that mental health is not legitimate, yet stigma also creates identities for those suffering. Society is quick to judge people with mental disorders, yet we still dance around the subject as if it is something toxic. The harder it becomes for us as a society to talk about it, the harder it is for those who are suffering to get help. The stereotypes that that are built do nothing but confine the mentally ill and make it harder for them to speak up about their disorders. I hope, however, that as a community of social workers we can transform the perception of mental illness from stigma into acceptance.

As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, this topic is very important to me. Though I suffered from depression from a young age, it wasn't until adulthood where I felt safe and comfortable enough to speak up about my disorder and seek help. I had no awareness of depression or mental health stigma, but even then I knew that speaking about it was shameful. I suffered in many ways due to a lack of awareness and a support system. Even now, I do not share with my friends and family, for fear of being judged, that I see both a therapist and a psychiatrist. I even feared including in this essay as I believed it might be seen as a reason to reject my application. I may suffer from depression and anxiety, but this does not mean that I am any less prepared to succeed in graduate school. I am able to fully focus on my studies and use my experience and education to become a clinical social worker. I have been doing the cognitive work on myself and I feel confident that now I am ready to persevere through both the challenges and opportunities graduate school will bring. My mental disorders may reflect my passions in this field, but they do not reflect my abilities.

Thanks so much in advance for your help!
justivy03 - / 2,366 607  
Feb 1, 2016   #2
Hi Katheryn, I hope my remarks below is not too late for your submission date.

Now, before I read your essay, I made sure that I understand the prompt and what is asked of you to write.
As I finish reading and carefully understand your essay, I must say that you were able to address what is asked of
the prompt as well as the needed info about the subject.

What I would suggest that you do is keep your paragraphs bold by merging a few of the small paragraphs,
this way you will have 3 main paragraphs to be presented in a neat and more formal way.

I also like the fact that you kept the punctuation marks in the right position and you didn't miss on anything
that needs to be highlighted in order to bring emphasis on your ideas.

Overall, it's a good essay and I hope my insights helped and I wish you the best of luck!!!

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