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Mental illness, person-first language, and stigma: I have a mental illness vs I am mentally ill

Is Person-First Language All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Is there a “right” way to talk about illness and disability? The current popular favourite is person-first language. It really got going in the 1990s, with the American Psychological Association leading the charge. Instead of talking about a “disabled person”, person-first language literally puts the person first, as in “person with a disability.” This has …

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Psychotic Does NOT Mean Violent

One of the most common and damaging stereotypes about mental illness is that mentally ill people are chronically dangerous and violence-prone (Corrigan & Watson, 2002). This stereotype is especially strongly linked to people with psychosis. Like many stereotypes, it’s not true in the vast majority of cases, but the general public may not realize that. …

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Homelessness & Addiction: A Newspaper Embraces Stigma

Last year I wrote about a police wellness check gone wrong, in which a young woman was dragged half-naked in handcuffs through her building by a police officer. While the woman was apprehended under the Mental Health Act, a story about the matter in the Kelowna Daily Courier used the word “arrested” multiple times, including …

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Just a psych patient? Mental illness stigma in the ER

Just a Psych Patient? Stigma in the ER

People with mental illness can come up against stigmatized attitudes within mental health care, but having a mental illness diagnosis can also make it difficult to access appropriate care for physical health issues. A recent CBC News story provides an example of a man whose physical issues were written off because he was just a …

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Mental illness stigma is bad... except for narcissistic personality disorder? - graphic of Narcissus

Stigma Is Bad… Except for Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Mental illness stigma is a very real problem. Those of us living with mental illness usually aren’t thrilled when people casually toss around mental illness diagnoses as adjectives, such as “she’s so bipolar” or “he’s so OCD” or “everyone’s a little ADHD.” Yet, when it comes to narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), all of a sudden …

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Mental illness stigma and the problem with language policing

The Problem with Language Policing

Patrick Corrigan has been an academic crush for a number of years now. And what is an academic crush, you might ask? I like how his mind works. He’s a psychologist and stigma researcher, with lived experience to boot. He’s one of the most prolific publishers in academic journals that I’ve ever come across. His …

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chain wrapped around ankles of person standing in sand

Mentally Ill People In Chains: A Disturbing Reality

The man in the photo below has a chain around his ankle, and he’s chained to the tree he’s leaning against. That’s his wife, and he has a mental illness. This photo, taken by photographer Robin Hammond, is in Ghana, but this doesn’t just happen there. I’m feeling rather grateful about living in Canada right …

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Do Attempts to Sanitize Mental Illness Reduce Stigma?

Recently, I came across a post that was a myths vs. facts type deal on mental illness stigma. One of the myths identified was that people with mental illness are disabled. The blogger’s response was that, on some days, mental illness could make it harder to work for some people, but there are also people …

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