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Projects --> Distance Education Division --> Ethics in Mental Health

ETHICS in Mental Health Logo
Anti-Stigmatization and Non-Discrimination Campaigns

The Ethics in Mental Health educational resource is a collaborative campaign with mental health agencies, commissions, and other foundations to reduce mental health stigmatization and discrimination.  A commissioned report by Director Shaheen Lakhan and reported by researcher and faculty member Christine Loftus entitled Mental Health Stigmatization: A Report of the Neuroscience Initiative reveals the evolving nature of societal conceptions of mental health and mental illness.  This partnership project by the Distance Education Division of the Initiative stemmed from the stigmatization findings of the Report.

The project will implement anti-stigmatization and non-discrimination campaigns based on interviews convened by the Living with a Brain Disorder project with scarce published literature. The Advisory Board (in procurement) will analyze the data on many levels, including psychological, sociological, geographical, medical, economical, and statistical evaluations to aid in the development of anti-stigmatization and anti-discrimination campaigns, identifying methods to improve access to medical and mental health care, and aid in the production of other health promotion media.

In summary, the commission Report found:

Stigmatization and discrimination causes:

  • prevention or delay in seeking intervention

  • premature treatment termination

  • less integration into society

  • lowered self-esteem

Anti-stigmatization campaigns must recognize:

  • the variability of stigmas based on type of mental illness, geographic location

  • the discrepancy between perceived and actual stigmatization

  • the "vicious cycle" create by stigmatization, for it exacerbates mental illness, which in turn increases stigmas

  • the power of optimism to discredit the notion that disorders are permanent and incurable

  • that health care professionals exhibit a deeply troubling form of stigmas inducing a deep mistrust in medical providers

  • less stigma is exhibited by people who believe the illness is not controlled by the afflicted individuals, however, not to overemphasize the genetic basis of mental illness, in that ill individuals are "inherently flawed".

Distance Education Division of the Neuroscience Initiative

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