Removing stigma from mental health issues

But the question also arises whether, ultimately, the destigmitization of mental illness comes about from merely a change in the language or, instead, from aggressive public education efforts; from successful treatments such as lithium, the anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and antipsychotics; from treatments that are not only successful, but somehow also catch the imagination of the public and the media (Prozac’s influence on public opinion and knowledge about depression, for example); from discovery of the underlying genetic or other biological causes of mental illness; from brain-imaging techniques, such as PET and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans, that visually communicate the location and concrete existence of these disorders; from the development of blood tests that will ultimately give medical credibility to psychiatric diseases; or from legislative actions, such as the American Disabilities Act, and the obtainment of parity with other medical conditions under whatever health-reform system is put into place. Attitudes about mental illness are changing, however glacially, and it is in large measure due to a combination of these things – successful treatment, advocacy and legislation.

  • Pg. 183, An Unquiet Mind, ISBN – 978-0-679-76330-7, Kay Redfield Jamison

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