The Mental Health Commission of Canada is hosting a three-day conference that is ending today. The Commission believes it is the largest conference ever organized on mental illness stigma. (We apologize Psych Central couldn’t make this conference — but we’re there in spirit.)
Stigma and prejudice of mental illness is still a serious problem. It’s one of the few areas in health where people are regularly blamed for their illness, and the perception remains in some sections of society where it’s seen as a personal failing or weakness.
Because the mental health system is disconnected from the regular health care system in the U.S., it suffers a second stigmatization as well — as a second-class delivery system that is too often ignored by mainstream medicine and healthcare. While “Health 2.0″ is all the rage in healthcare, few talk about Mental Health 2.0.
Put these two together and you have a recipe for misunderstanding, gross generalizations — even by medical doctors and family physicians who should know better — and marginalization. Mental health care is an afterthought on the stage of health care.
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