A quick question to you all out there about something I learnt yesterday.
I am doing a topic at uni called “Metal Health, Mental Illness” and in my tutorial yesterday we were talking about stigma reduction. The point was then raised by my tutor that a very large portion of mental health stigma actually comes from the health professionals themselves (Doctors, nurses, health promotion officers etc.. the list is large).
I was personally quite shocked to hear this. How can something we’re trained to be treating and help manage be so stigmatised by our own professions? But it happens. It’s much easier to label a client/patient by their diagnosis than to learn their name and background, but it doesn’t make it ethical or productive. Care provided is meant to be ‘patient-centred’.
Does finding out something like this surprise you? I’d be interested to know. Especially if you’d had experience with such stigma in the past!
Not at all surprising.
You might also be interested, if you haven’t encountered it already, in the concept of iatrogenic stigma (‘iatrogenic’ means ‘resulting from the activity of physicians’). It’s not just a matter of physicians and mental health workers themselves having stigmatizing attitudes, but also medication side-effects, careless use of diagnostic labels etc.
Norman Satrorius (former director of WHO’s division of mental health / former President of the World Psychiatric Association) has written quite eloquently on it and you can read a free pdf of one of his articles on the subject here.
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