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Stigma and Mental Illness

Edited by Paul J. Fink, M.D., and Allan Tasman, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-0-88048-405-3
  • Item #8405

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This book is a collection of writings on how society has stigmatized mentally ill persons, their families, and their caregivers. First-hand accounts poignantly portray what it is like to be the victim of stigma and mental illness. Stigma and Mental Illness also presents historical, societal, and institutional viewpoints that underscore the devastating effects of stigma.


  • Effects of stigma on psychiatric treatment.

    The Experience of Stigma.

    Stigma: families suffer too. A letter from a resident. The stigmatized patient.

    Historical Aspects of Stigma.

    Shame, stigma, and mental illness in ancient Greece. Stigma during the medieval and renaissance periods. The Devon Asylum: a brief history of the changing concept of mental illness and asylum treatment. Madness and the stigma of sin in American Christianity.

    Societal Issues.

    The consequences of stigma for persons with mental illness: evidence from the social sciences. Stigma and stereotype: homeless mentally ill persons. Cinematic stereotypes contributing to the stigmatization of psychiatrists. The stigmatized family. Fighting stigma: how to help the doctor's family.

    Institutional Issues.

    The stigma of mental illness for medical students and residents. Societal factors in the problems faced by deinstitutionalized psychiatric patients. The psychiatric hospital and reduction of stigma. The stigma of electroconvulsive therapy: a workshop. The stigmatization of psychiatrists who work with chronically mentally ill persons. Overcoming stigma: the Mad Hatters.

Stigma and Mental Illness succeeds in exposing the enmeshed connection between stigma and mental illness. This book seeks to weaken the link between mental illness and stigmatization and provides concrete suggestions for health care and society. Stigma and Mental Illness is a unique education for all health care professionals: students, residents, and their teachers. It is comprehensive, authoritative, well-reasoned, compelling, theoretically sound, and clinically relevant.—New England Journal of Medicine

This is a wide-ranging book, which brings together multiple perspectives on the often neglected subject of stigma and mental illness. I recommend the book as a standard reference for those interested in the subject of stigma.—JAMA

The book not only delineates the process of stigmatization; it also includes many constructive suggestions for change. The deserves a wide readership.—Innovations & Research

These nineteen essays are the best collection of discussions of the many aspects of stigma and mental illness that has appeared anywhere. Some of the contributions are uniquely brilliant, some comprehensive, some sociopolitical, some religious and historical, some clinical and therapeutically focused—but all are thought-provoking and resonate with different facets of our own experiences and those of our patients.—George H. Pollock, M.D., Ph.D., Northwestern University Medical School

This is a timely and valuable contribution to our literature.—Jerry M. Wiener, M.D., The George Washington University School of Medicine

A helpful guide to reexamining one's own ingrained beliefs and a source of practical solutions for conquering the worst side effect of mental illness—the negative views of society, caregivers, and persons with mental illness themselves.—Miles F. Shore, M.D., Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Mental Health Center

Doctors Fink and Tasman have utilized the anthology structure to permit experts in a large number of stigma's aspects to present their worthy contributions to the book. There is something here for everyone. Family members stand to gain as much as professionals do from reading it. . . . the information is both high caliber and up to date.—Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal

Although slender in length, the scope of their book is encyclopedic. . . [T]here is an admirable (and all too rare) mix of psychiatric and psychological orientations among chapter authors. Fink and Tasman clearly succeed in documenting their thesis that 'stigma is. . . an insidious problem that is destructive to families, mentally ill patients, and the profession of psychiatry'. They have produced a valuable resource on a complex and very important subject.—Contemporary Psychology

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