Stigma: an Evolution and an Ending

 

Fear, paranoia, discrimination, and unabashedly hostile attitudes are held against people carrying a mental health diagnosis. Stigma is alive today. This article is designed to arm readers with a critical skill set to disarm stigma in the mental health system and society at large. As the article unfolds, readers will benefit from a more accurate breadth of knowledge on how stigma manifests in society and what to do to disable its polarizing and misleading insidious devices. Readers will benefit from a skill set to dismantle stigma and provide education on mental health diagnoses to the community.

 

Language; Wording, & Healthy Stances on Mental Health and those that carry Disorders

 

“He’s crazy, she’s bipolar, he’s manic”

We’ve heard these popular sayings and digs at people we attack or misunderstand in our lives without justification. Language objectified people with a mental health diagnosis, it “others” them into something most people are not, it characterizes them as just plain different. We even use language to describe our own shortcomings, as in: “I must have been crazy what was I thinking?” There are several strategies to change the way we use language to disarm stigma at the level of language. One of the most simple ways is inserting the verb “To Be” when talking about a diagnosis, as in: “I am a person with bipolar disorder”. There are many ways to rethink uses of language, I encourage readers to choose the method they feel is the most effective.

Education, Knowledge, and ARMING the public with the power to humanize mental health disorders and those carrying a diagnosis

 

Nobody’s health is perfect. Even the healthiest people have their particular strengths and weaknesses in their medical and psychiatric statuses. So why is society vigilant to discriminate against people carrying a mental health diagnosis. This writer suggests mental illnesses invisibility and its capacity to radically transform a persons capacity to be a participant to a “strain or burden” of society’s apparatuses is the root of it. Unquestionably, lies can be mobilized to reinforce furthering lieing when stigma is at play. It is propaganda from popular culture that limits the potential of people with a mental health diagnosis and exposes them as a  strain on our entitlement system. People with a mental health diagnosis need to be unconventional  and  this means it is impossible to estimate this groups potential from a homogenous broad-based generalization of their worth to our society. So, how do we get underneath the very laws that govern how society interprets mental health. The answer is everyday, everywhere. On a micro level and a societal level we must openly confront stigma until it disappears into mental healths most colorful and sobering past.

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Max E. Guttman LCSW

Max Guttman is the owner of Recovery Now in New York. Max provides psychotherapy, complex case management, community consultation, and self-management skill-building groups. His approach is based on evidenced-based practices (EBP). Max earned a master’s degree in Social Work from Binghamton University. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and a field instructor for both postgraduate and undergraduate students at Lehman College. He is also a social work supervisor and psychotherapist at Courtlandt Avenue Clinic in the South Bronx where he teaches students social work praxis in New York City. In addition to this responsibilities, he manages Mental Health Affairs, a mental health blog.

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