Mental Illness Stigma Information
"The Civil Rights Movement of this decade is Mental Health Care quality and equality."
-- Updated February 18, 2005 --


    The mission of this page is to provide links to news and information about stigma and discrimination related to mental illness and substance abuse. There is more to the perpetuation of stigma than just our attitudes and misconceptions.

    There are institutional mechanisms that can help or hinder the process of reducing discrimination. Just as antidiscrimination laws helped to change behavior and attitudes related to race and sexual identity, similar legal mechanisms can reduce discrimination related to mental illness and substance abuse.

    This page contains information, links and resources to help us all move towards a society that does not discriminate against those with mental illness or substance abuse disorders. To return to this page in the future, just bookmark it or type in your Web browser address box.

      Mental Health Care Goes Mainstream?

      Resources for Understanding Antidiscrimination Efforts.

    Although we have done our best to provide a comprehensive list of links, we cannot guarantee that we have covered it all. If you wish to stay even more current about mental illness antidiscrimination efforts, we recommend using the Google News Search Engine page. Type into the search box the words "mental illness discrimination" or "substance abuse discrimination" or a similar search phrase. You will get a comprehensive list of the most current articles from a large number of publications.

    Some Well-Known Antidiscrimination Efforts

      Mental health parity in health insurance coverage is one effective way to help change discrimination. See our Mental Health Parity page for comprehensive links to understanding and advocating for mental health parity in health insurance coverage.

      See the following resources for understanding and advocating for the Medicare Mental Health Modernization Act of 2003 introduced in March and April of 2003 which is stuck in committee in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. My recommendation is to get "pushy" with AARP and other leading organizations about older adult mental health. Get AARP and others to advocate for the Medicare Mental Health Modernization Act of 2003 introduced in March and April of 2003.

      • Older Women's League. See their mental health advocacy pages at Older Americans Mental Health Week. As the only national grassroots membership organization to focus solely on issues unique to women as they age, the Older Women's League (OWL) strives to improve the status and quality of life for midlife and older women. OWL is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that accomplishes its work through research, education, and advocacy activities conducted through a chapter network. Now in its 23rd year, OWL provides a strong and effective voice for the more than 58 million women age 40 and over in America.

      • Older Americans Consumer Mental Health Alliance. One of OACMHA's primary missions is to decrease fear in older persons of mental health stigma by increasing public awareness and knowledge of the special mental health needs and problems of older persons, including alternative solutions and approaches to services and treatments needed by this population group.

      Resources for Understanding Stigma and Anti-Stigma Efforts.

      Anti-Stigma at its Best!

    The December 13, 1999 Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health ("1999 Report"), presented a vision for the future of mental health and promoted eight recommendations. However, the 1999 Report did not suggest priorities. In Dr. Sterling's opinion, the controlling variable for the success of the seven other goals noted in the 1999 Report is recommendation number two -- "overcome stigma."

    Stigma is not just an obstacle for people seeking consultation. Among other things, stigma deters funding for research, it facilitates discriminatory attitudes with respect to workplace support, and it provides an underlying mindset that influences insurers to restrict coverage inappropriately.

    Click here to read Anti-Stigma at its Best!, an article written by Dr. Sterling, posted June 25, 2003.

      The Anti-Stigma Power of Humor.

    Check the Web site of Stand Up for Mental Health. Stand Up For Mental Health is a course that teaches stand-up comedy to people with mental illness. Their acts look at the lighter side of taking meds, seeing counselors, getting diagnosed and surviving the mental health system. Designed by David Granirer, a counselor and a stand-up comic, Stand Up For Mental Health aims to reduce public stigma around mental illness and spread a message of hope and empowerment.

      NAMI Stigma Alerts!

    The Most Recent NAMI Stigma Alerts are available.

    "NAMI" is the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. StigmaBusters are dedicated to helping us all realize that mental illness is not something to be demeaned, misrepresented or exploited. Stigma Alerts also include praise for accurate and respectful representations of mental illness and the mentally ill. If you would like to receive advance, e-mailed Alerts from StigmaBusters before they are posted on the NAMI Web site, please go to Stigma Alerts and sign up. It is worth it!

      NAMI Media Awards for 2003!

    The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill has announced its 2003 Media Awards. The NAMI 2003 Media Awards go to a very diverse group of movies, reporters and stories -- from the movie The Hours to coverage of children's issues to reports about National Football League players.

      2002 NAMI Media Coverage.

      Links to Other Media Watcher Web Sites.

    • The National Alliance for Mental Illness Stigma Alerts page contains a list of recent alerts regarding films, television shows, advertising. It also features comments about good faith media representations regarding mental illness. Sign up for e-mail alerts.

    • National Stigma Clearinghouse News of the Week. Since 1990 they have been watching the media and issuing alerts.

    • CineMania is a new site with essays on films and mental health: A Cinematic History of 20th Century Stigma and the Criminalization of Mental Illness.

    • Dr. Otto Wahl's home page. Otto Wahl, Ph.D, Clinical Psychology, is a nationally-recognized expert on the media and mental illness and has published a book entitled Media Madness: Public Images of Mental Illness.

      Human Rights in Mental Health Care.

    The following are links to some Web sites and organizations that have focused on human rights, freedom, recovery, over-medication, and resilience issues. Patient rights and patient survivors should always have a voice in the work of bringing about appropriate, scientifically valid and less intrusive mental health and chemical dependency treatment.

    • The Thomas Szasz Cybercenter for Liberty and Responsibility. This web site is dedicated to the life and work of Thomas S. Szasz, M.D. In it you will find information from friends and colleagues sharing similar points of view to those of Thomas Szasz on diverse topics ranging from psychiatry and law, to drugs and addiction, to psychotherapy and public policy.

    • Mind Freedom - "Win human rights in the mental health system" is Mind Freedom's mission.

    • Successful Schizophrenia. Successful Schizophrenia is a web site dedicated to raising awareness of the constructs which currently and historically exist within the field of mental health. The training procedures in psychiatry, clinical psychology and allied fields brainwash practitioners into sustaining a dysfunctional system while expelling and discrediting those who think for themselves. Our site is meant to provide critical information that is suppressed elsewhere, to allow for our visitors to connect with each other, and be reassured that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

    • Psychiatric Drug Facts by Peter R. Breggin, M.D. Dr. Breggin has been informing the professions, media and the public about the potential dangers of drugs, electroshock, psychosurgery, involuntary treatment, and the biological theories of psychiatry for over three decades. He is the author of dozens of scientific articles and more than fifteen professional books about psychiatric medication, the FDA and drug approval process, the evaluation of clinical trials, and standards of care in psychiatry and related fields.

    • National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy. NARPA is dedicated to promoting those policies and pursuing those strategies that represent the preferred options of people who have been labeled mentally disabled. NARPA is committed to advocating the abolishing of all forced treatment laws. NARPA believes the recipients of mental health services are capable of and entitled to make their own choices, and they are, above all, equal citizens under the law. To the extent that the recipients and former recipients may need assistance to support or express or achieving their preferences, NARPA is committed to promoting rights protection and advocacy which focuses upon both the right to choose and the specific choices of those who request assistance. Therefore, NARPA's fundamental mission is to help empower people who have been labeled mentally disabled so that they may learn to independently exercise their rights.

    • Alternative Mental Health is a Web site guide "to assist and promote non-harmful, alternative (non-psychiatric) methods and practitioners for helping the mentally disturbed. Our purpose is to provide education and choice to the public in the matter of alternative mental health practices. Our main concern is that the vast majority of people with severe mental symptoms have overlooked physical ailments. So our aim is to educate the public on this matter and recommend the medical problems be addressed as a matter of first priority. That is why we list in our directory doctors and practitioners who concentrate on medical and nutritional treatment of severe mental symptoms."

      Thank You for Stopping By!

        - Best wishes, Ron Sterling M.D. (Seattle, Washington, USA)

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