Episode 46: Stigma, by host, Laura Milkins. Our guest, Melissa, tells the story of her depression and how essential oils and other alternative therapies helped her find joy and cope with depression. Sunday, December 18, 2016
The Stigma of Mental Illness Is Making Us Sicker: Why mental illness should be a public health priority
-Michael Friedman Ph.D.
Research suggests that the majority of people hold negative attitudes and stereotypes towards people with mental illness. From a young age children will refer to others as “crazy” or “weird”; these terms are used commonly throughout adulthood as well. Often the negative stereotypes involve perceptions that people with mental illness are dangerous. This perception is fueled by media stories that paint violent perpetrators as “mentally ill” without providing the context of the broad spectrum of mental illness. This bias is not limited to people who are either uninformed or disconnected from people with mental illness; in fact health care providers and even some mental health professionals hold these very same stereotypes.
What can be done?
Overall, increased awareness is probably one of the most important things that can be done to counteract stereotypes. For years groups such as the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and the Rosalynn Carter Foundation have fought to reduce stigma. More recently, Molly Knight Raskin, who has received the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism, is developing a movie, “Still We Rise,” to bring awareness to the epidemic of global mental illness. Knight Raskin told me, “To me, there’s only one thing standing in the way of our ability to care for mentally ill people in this country, and around the world: stigma.”
“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, more unashamed conversation about illnesses that affect not only individuals, but their families as well.” -Glenn Close