Schizophrenia.com

Stigma is public prejudice based on ignorance

In June, the organization I work for, The Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation, hosted a conference in Philadelphia called Opening Closed Doors. Prominent thought leaders in mental health and advocates for family members of those living with mental illness assembled for two days to address the obstacles that interfere with positive outcomes for those with serious mental illness (SMI). Two of the largest barriers identified were well-intentioned privacy laws that sometimes prevent families from participating in the recovery process and involuntary commitment laws that require the presence of imminent danger to self or others.In addition to these challenges, we at the Scattergood Foundation recognize that there are other, societal impediments that hinder wellness for those with SMI: stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination.

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I’m really hoping that with all the public awareness going on that stigma will soon be a thing of the past. Personally I have not had to deal with public stigma regarding my son. He is treated the same as myself when we are out in public. If anything due to his own negative attitude on occasion it’s close family members that have pulled back.

I would agree about the two largest barriers being identified. I’ve recently had to deal with both. One getting my son admitted. I had to wait until he was at risk physically. So for three days I had to watch him decline further and further into himself. Also while inpatient I had to deal with “I can’t release information to you until he signs a consent.” Not an easy task since at that time he was just getting over thinking that I was trying to kill him.

Thanx for posting.