Stigma is an attribute, behaviour, or reputation which is socially discrediting in a particular way. Stigma causes an individual to be mentally classified by others as an undesirable, rejected person.
But stigma associated with mental illness is not faced by the patient alone! Also families of people with mental health issues face stigma by association with the stigmatized.
Caregivers of persons with symptoms of mental illness find it difficult to avoid stigma.
Often caregivers perceive this stigma or may even believe that they deserve to be discredited for a variety of reasons. How a caregiver reacts to both stigma and perceived stigma can affect the quality of their life and the care they are able to give their relative.
Stigma by association is when a person is stigmatized simply for their association or similarity with a person who is stigmatized. Stigma by association can be external when the society stigmatizes the family of a mentally ill person. But it can also be internal, where the family of a mentally ill person believes this wrong perception of mental illness and expects to be stigmatized.