Recovery psychology/Stigma, Discrimination and Prejudice

"Recovery is the process of overcoming the negative impact of a psychiatric disability despite its continued presence"
--The Ohio Department of Mental Health

Statistics on recovery

  • Depression 80%
  • Panic Disorder 70-90%
  • Schizophrenia 60%
  • Heart Disease 45-50%--NIMH 2002

Stigma, Discrimination and PrejudiceEdit

Internalized Stigma and AcceptanceEdit

Stigma becomes internalized by persons with psychological disorders. If a person is treated as incompetent, they begin to act as if they are incompetent. However, it has been found that when a person with a psychological disorder accepts their disorder, great strides in recovery soon occur (page 95 of Psychiatric Rehabilitation 2002 C. Pratt, K. Gill, N. Barrett, M. Roberts.)-see Kubler-Ross Two types of stigma exist in the mental health consumer community which fall under the concept of internalized stigma: Interstigma, which is where an individual stigmatizes oneself. Intrastigma in which a person with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder may stigmatize another person with schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder.


Externalized Stigma and DiscriminationEdit

  • mental health professionals Sally Saltel is a Washington, D.C. based psychiatrist, a lecturer at Yale University School of Medicine, who wrote the book PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine in which she equates recovery to liberalistic politics. By this line of thinking would that not make psychological disorders (mental illnesses) be a conservative phenomena? Her book focuses on the anti-psychiatry movement, as if to say all of the recovery movement is anti-psychiatry. She attacks Dan Fisher and Pat Deegan and labels them as unrealistic anti-psychiatry zealots, although niether Fisher nor Deegan are anti-psychiatry, most of their literature confirms that they are pro-recovery (review any articles by these two.) She attacks recovery as corrupting medicine. The position of the recovery model versus the medical model with regards to mental health services in its current state surely demonstrates that recovery as a concept barely is recognised in the medical setting...it certainly has not enough influence to corrupt anything medical. As stated earlier in the course social workers are pushing the recovery concept not psychologists, psychiatrists and the medical establishment who should be qualified and ethically bound by the hippocratic oath to not only believe, accept but practice. Failure to acknowledge recovery is similar to holocuast denial.Other recovery deniers are Stanton Peele and...
  • Media Images of Psychological disorders Characters with psychological disorders or characters with a history of psychological disorders have occured many times in the recycled plot lines of blood and gore movies. George Gerbner researched in 1993 for the National Stigma Clearinghouse and found that persons with psychological disorders are the most stigmatized group on television. Fictional characters with these disorders were seen as being more dangerous and evil than normal villians protrayed in theses programs and movies. Of eight stereotyped categories of villians in movies and television media, when compared to hero characters: disabled persons accounted for less than 20/100, Latino-hispanic americans less than 20/100, Women less than 20/100, African American 21/100, White american 22/100, Young adults 30/100 but 120/100 persons with psychological disorders. Gerbner found that 5% of "normal" characters are murderers (sic) and that 20% of characters who are "mentally ill" are killers. While 40% of "normal" characters are violent (sic) another 70% of characters labeled "mentally ill" are violent. Oddly enough by definition of antisocial would cover all criminal behavior, so by reason one could conclude that not all persons with psychological disorders are criminals, but that all persons who have criminal behavior definitely have psychological disorders.
  • The News Media The news media often refers to an armed and dangerous person who does a criminal act as "mentally disturbed." We can find any numerous references to criminals with psychological disorders and criminals with out psychological disorders. In reality persons with psychological disorders rarely are violent and rarely do criminal acts. By definition of abnormal behavior all criminal acts are abnormal. It would be more precise to say that all criminals have psychological problems, and that there is a vast majority of others with psychological disorders who do not commit crime. The news media consistantly prepetuates this public preception of there being a distinction between normal criminals and abnormal criminals. The news media is capable of speaking on health issues and giving accurate mental health information on a monday and then reporting an incident involving a deranged psychopath on tuesday. If we were to hold that media forum accountable to diagnostic criterion we would say that they are splitting, which is a pathological behavior seen in some personality disorders. To even make this wrose an economist is allowed to speak in the news media regarding stocks, bonds and investments. We naturally percieve a stockbroker or other financial expert authority to be an educated person; yet he says things like the stock market is in state of schizophrenia or that the national economy is schizophrenic. Again this implies that the term schizophrenia means something it does not refer to.

Essay QuestionEdit

  • As far back as Sally Zinman and Howie The Harp, consumers of mental health services have spoken up against the mental health care system, explain why those mental health health professionals who claim to be helping would refuse to listen those they were serving?
  • Recovery as a concept continues to see a great deal of resistance from the clinical psychologists and psychiatrists; yet it is the consumers or persons in recovery who have spoken out to explain the concept of "recovery," what is it that makes the concept so difficult to understand for persons who have gone in to the profession of treating disorders the very concept of an element being successful?
  • The above question refers to the success of mental health professionals; in the recovery movement, the focus of this success is on the consumer, client (person in recovery) since it is person centered. Can a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist claim to be successful in doing their job, if their client is not ultimately successful as a result of therapuetic interventions?
  • Does the attitudes like those of Sally Satel harm not only the recovery movement, but the science of clinical psychology? Why is there an assumption or precieved belief that all recovery talk is politically correct or liberal, as pointed out in Sicko an illness does not care about a persons political presuasion so why would the recovery from it care either? Should not illness and recovery from illness be seen as apolitical?

Focus on ControversyEdit

  • An article(View this Link on CNN) about a student diagnosed with a psychological disorder that has a past of anger, hatred and desiring revenge, Richard Sonnen, who was alleged to have been making threats that he was going to pull off a sniper attack from a clock tower on the college's campus. The accused person said the whole incident was a big misunderstanding, that he was telling people about his high school plot and never threatened his college or local high school. TIP: In seeking information on Richard Sonnen use Google, keywords like: Campus Rage, CNN and Richard Sonnen. There was little to no mention of Richard Sonnen, the guy in recovery, on venues like wikipedia or YouTube, where other persons who have acted violently, are discussed in excess.
  1. If Mr. Sonnen is telling the truth, has the media denied Mr. Sonnens' recovery?
  2. If this is so, then have those who have stigmatized and accused him also denied his recovery?
  3. Does this further escalate stigma of psychological disorders?
  4. Should not research on the potential school shooters who never do shootings be done from a recovery prespective? Is the person who was angry at the world, was suicidal, felt persecution, had on external sense of locus of control and wanted revenge not considered a case of recovery, if recovered from that doomed state of mind? Would not it be worth the study time that (Harvard psychologist) William Pollack spends on shooters post-mortem, to study living people who did not hurt anyone? Is recovery not the thing to study, if the overall goal is prevention?
  5. Are clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, on campuses and in the media perpeptuating stigma by not supporting the recovery concept? Are they not supporting the body bag model instead of the recovery model, if they study post-mortem tragedy, and fail to study those who did not act violently?
  6. As a result of school shootings, some have proposed the idea, of letting students be armed to protect themselves on college campuses. What level of psychosocial stress do you think this might place on an already stigmatized and marginalized minority? If you felt bullied by people who were not armed, would you feel any less bullied by the same people if they were armed with firearms?