The Stigma of Mental Health
An article was recently written to the New York Times by Dr. Ronald Pies, a professor of psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University and Tufts University. The article’s purpose was to stimulate meaningful discourse about the stigma of psychiatric diagnoses, a topic that is pivotal in today’s fragile climate surrounding conversations about the state of our mental health system and the upcoming publication of the revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V). He encourages healthy debate about what constitutes the parameters of the definitions of “normal” and “abnormal.”
He criticizes, however, the automatic stigmatization of a mental health diagnosis because it further isolates those who are struggling , shaming them from seeking proper care in fear of being labeled. Dr. Pies maintains the necessity of mental health diagnoses, likening their significance to that of other medically-related diagnoses. He postulates that the less stigma we place on mental health issues, the more empowered people who deal with them become. What are your thoughts?