The Stigma around hearing voices, in particular Schizophrenia is severe. the SANE guide to stigma states
“Stigma causes harm in lots of ways… It blights the life of people with mental illness, cause stress and unhappiness in the lives of their friends and families too, and damages society as a whole.”
It discourages help seeking, makes recovery harder, and promotes discrimination.
A New Zealand in depth report called “FIGHTING SHADOWS” on the excellent Like Minds Like US site, outlines these effects in detail. Not only does the stigma manifest in the way others treat those diagnosed with an illness, but can have a devastating effect on the people who “accept the stigma”. That is Selfstigmatise. Beleive the stigma, and thus lose all hope. The research says this
Self-stigma is an issue that most people with experience of mental illness would recognise, seeing it either in themselves or in other people. It is generally believed that self-stigma arises from internalising the negative messages and behaviour that people with experience of mental illness receive from others. In other words, the concept of selfstigma seems fundamentally and inextricably linked to the concept of discrimination”