Reducing the stigma of mental illness
- By: Jim Bolton
The days of telling your patients to “pull themselves together” should be over. Jim Bolton discusses the various ways in which health professionals can help to reduce the stigma of mental illness at a professional, service, and individual level
Mental health problems are treated as if our thoughts and feelings are separate from our physical bodies. This artificial distinction is reflected in our thinking and language as well as in the provision of health services.
This separation of mind and body contributes to the stigma of mental illness. The description of mental health problems as being “all in the mind” is often followed by the instruction to the patient to “pull yourself together.” As a liaison psychiatrist who works in the divide between mental and physical health services, I have many reasons to consider the stigma of mental illness and how it should be tackled.
The artificial divide between physical