Friday, 20 March 2015

Why Mental Health Stigma exists. It's political!

 Ray Filar :
The silence and social stigma around mental health is deliberate, the product of an institutional refusal to talk about the affective impact of socio-political conditions. Some people get depressed, or psychotic, we think, because of chemical imbalances or individual traumatic experiences. They’re just lazy or making it up. We don’t talk about austerity, poverty, demonization of the unemployed — the politically-driven stigmatizing of the least privileged groups of people — but is it any wonder we’re unhappy?
"In other words, stigmas exist to protect a status quo that tells us: If you’re mentally ill, it’s nobody’s fault but your own. And if you’re mentally well… Well, that must be due to your own cleverness/goodness/responsibility/hard work, too, right?"

"Even Andrew Solomon, whose research on depression has mostly focused on its non-political determinants, included an entire chapter on how class affects depression in his book The Noonday Demon.
The World Health Organization, for its part, has heavily emphasized the connection between poverty and mental disorders, and advocates a rigorous program for promoting mental wellbeing that goes far beyond medications and therapies to push for support for children and the elderly, socioeconomic empowering of women, housing programs, and a stronger safety net in general."

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