Even before Erving Goffman's Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity was published in 1963, it had been a commonplace notion that there was a stigma attached to psychiatric illness. King Lear's cry ‘Let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven’ echoes down the ages. But in the years since Goffman's book there has been a concerted attempt by psychiatrists, by patients' groups, by the media, to ‘destigmatise’ and ‘demythologise’ psychiatry. This has taken many subtle forms, but several major themes were apparent.
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