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Common mental illness stereotypes: violent, unpredictable, unreliable, incompetent, weak character

Inaccurate & Damaging Mental Illness Stereotypes

Stereotypes are a way that we store knowledge about social categories. When a category is considered by society to be deviant, such as the group of people who are mentally ill, members of that category tend to be viewed as a homogeneous group that is accurately represented by stereotypes. There may be a grain of …

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Diagram of socially acceptable identities and deviant identities

Racism, Prejudice, and Implicit/Explicit Beliefs

Last week I reviewed White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. There were some important concepts that she alluded to but didn’t clearly explain, so I decided to do a post, from a social constructionist viewpoint, about how stereotypes and prejudice develop, and why the difference between implicit and explicit beliefs is important. Our societies create categories …

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What is... Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) - cartoon of exhausted snail

What Is… ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue)

In this series, I dig a little deeper into the meaning of psychology-related terms… but not this week. Instead, we’ll take a look at ME/CFS, and why it’s absolutely not all in someone’s head. The National Institutes of Health describes ME/CFS as “a debilitating disease that lacks a universally accepted case definition, cause, diagnosis, or …

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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 and the problem with language policing

The Problem with Language Policing

Patrick Corrigan has been my research crush for a number of years now. And what is a research 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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Social privileges (e.g. white privilege, male privilege, class privilege) vs. social burdens (racism, sexism class discrimination

Social Privileges as a Counterpoint to Social Burdens

Lately, white privilege has been a hot topic. The people I’ve come across who take a stance against the idea of white privilege seem to have in common the line of thinking that they haven’t been handed anything, so how can they have social privilege? I thought it might be worth reframing social privilege in …

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Black Lives Matter

Why I Use My Voice to Say Black Lives Matter

Through our shared humanity, all lives matter. So why is it important to say Black lives matter? When lives don’t matter All lives should matter equally. That is the ideal, and probably most of us would agree that it’s the “right” thing. Unfortunately, though, in practice, not all lives are given equal value. An obvious …

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Ableism: the assumptions people make about disability - How does ableism relate to mental illness stigma?

Ableism: The Assumptions People Make About Disability

I’ve seen ableism being mentioned on Twitter a number of times lately. Aside from the obvious meaning, I wasn’t familiar with it in a mental health context. This post will explore what ableism means for people with psychiatric disabilities. Defining ableism An article on the Center for Disability Rights website describes ableism this way: Ableism …

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Justin Trudeau in Aladdin costume with brownface

Halloween, Blackface, and Cultural Appropriation

Not long ago, a photo was forwarded to Time.com from a 2001 yearbook of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, who was a teacher at the time, dressed in an Aladdin costume that included brownface/blackface makeup.  It caused quite a stir, with some people criticizing him as being racist. Since it’s Halloween, it seems like a …

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Intersectionality and What it Means for Mental Health

Black feminist researcher Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw first proposed the concept of intersectionality in 1989 to represent the many different layers of social stratification that can combine to disadvantage people. This includes factors like race, sexual orientation, social class, age, disability, and gender. Expanding on this concept, sociologist Patricia Hill Collins described the intersectional points as the matrix …

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