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Challenging healthcare discrimination: Commentary on … Discrimination Against People with Mental Illness

  • Peter Byrne

Summary

Stigma-discrimination against people with mental health problems is more prevalent and damaging than the weaker ‘stigma by association’ experienced by mental healthcare professionals. Not only are patients reluctant to seek psychiatric help, but they are shunned by society and discriminated against by general healthcare services when they do. Other clinicians see psychiatric services as a last resort and government funding of these services is disproportionately low. Psychiatrists must engage in anti-stigma activities. I suggest ways in which, both in the clinical arena and in the wider context of education and society, psychiatrists can challenge clinicians' and the public's value judgements of psychiatric patients.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr Peter Byrne, Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist, Newham University Hospital, London E13 8SL, UK. Email: p.byrne@ucl.ac.uk

Footnotes

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See pp. 53–59, this issue.

Declaration of Interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Byrne, P (2000) Organ transplantation and discrimination. BMJ; 320: 1600.
Corrigan, PW, Markowitz, FE, Watson, AC (2004) Structural levels of mental illness stigma and discrimination. Schizophrenia Bulletin; 30: 481–91.
Corrigan, PW, Watson, A, Byrne, P et al (2005) Mental health stigma. Problem of public health or social justice? Social Work; 50: 363–8.
Estroff, SE, Penn, DL, Toporek, JR (2004) From stigma to discrimination. An analysis of community efforts to reduce the consequences of having a psychiatric disorder or label. Schizophrenia Bulletin; 30: 493509.
Hippisley-Cox, J, Parker, C, Coupland, C et al (2007) Inequalities in the primary care of patients with coronary heart disease and serious mental health problems. A cross-sectional study. Heart; 93: 1256–62.
Lester, H (2005) Shared care for people with mental illness: a GP's perspective. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment; 11: 133–39.
Link, BG, Phelan, JC (2001) Conceptualizing stigma. Annual Review of Sociology; 27: 363–85.
Link, BG, Castille, DM, Stuber, J (2008) Stigma and coercion in the context of outpatient treatment for people with mental illness. Social Science and Medicine; 67: 409–19.
Phillips, DL (1963) Rejection. A possible consequence of seeking help for mental disorders. American Sociological Review; 28: 963–72.
Royal College of Psychiatrists (2001) Mental Illness. Stigmatisation and Discrimination within the Medical Profession (Council Report CR91). Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Schulze, B (2007) Stigma and mental health professionals. A review of the evidence of an intricate relationship. International Review of Psychiatry; 19: 137–55.
Thompson, M, Thompson, T (1997) Discrimination Against People with Experiences of Mental Illness. New Zealand Mental Health Commission.
Thornicroft, G, Rose, D, Mehta, N (2010) Discrimination against people with mental illness: what can psychiatrists do? Advances in Psychiatric Treatment; 16: 53–9.
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BJPsych Advances
  • ISSN: 1355-5146
  • EISSN: 1472-1481
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-advances
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Challenging healthcare discrimination: Commentary on … Discrimination Against People with Mental Illness

  • Peter Byrne
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