Can public education decrease the stigma of mental illness?

by Jon G. Allen, PhD March 14, 2014

I do not know the answer to this question, but I have some thoughts about one aspect of it. A significant public education effort has been mounted to decrease the stigma associated with mental illnesses by emphasizing their neurobiological basis. We can rightly think of psychiatric conditions as brain disorders with a partly genetic basis. […]

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Is psychiatry’s drug addiction increasing the stigma of mental illness?

by Jon G. Allen, PhD March 11, 2014

I deliberately chose a tendentious title for this essay – misleadingly metaphorical rather than literal – to highlight, as one of my recent posts outlines, my alarm stemming from reading research on stigma. With many others, I had assumed that treating psychiatric disorders as “a disease like any other” (i.e., like any other general medical […]

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I’m a registered dietitian, and I don’t like “The Biggest Loser”

by Kim Morgan, RD March 7, 2014

Rachel Frederickson, (right), the most recent winner of The Biggest Loser, lost 60 percent of her body weight on the show. The “winner’s” initial weight of 260 pounds made her BMI a health risk at 44.2, while her new weight of 105 pounds also has her BMI a health risk at 18.1. Is she healthier […]

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It’s time to arm teenagers with knowledge of psychology

by Michele Arnold March 4, 2014

The American Psychological Association (APA) has a psychology course for high school students. All the lesson plans, except “Emotion,” are locked because only Teachers of Psychology in Secondary School (TOPSS) can open them. The “Emotion” lesson looks comprehensive (it includes a section on neuroscience); I just hope the teachers who use the APA course infuse […]

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What if we REALLY got rid of shame about suicide?

by Thomas Ellis, PsyD, ABPP March 1, 2014

De-stigmatization seems like such a no-brainer. Stigma, whether associated with an affliction like AIDS, or (in our case) mental illness, is a bad thing. It brings suffering to victims above and beyond that inflicted by their illness. At its worst, it brings with it such shame that people often don’t obtain the care they need. […]

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Does reframing mental illnesses as brain disorders reduce stigma?

by Jon G. Allen, PhD February 26, 2014

Psychiatry is moving gradually toward characterizing “mental illnesses” as “brain disorders.” This movement is consistent with increasing understanding of the contribution of brain functioning to psychiatric disorders. This biological contribution includes genetic factors as well as alterations in brain chemistry, activity and structure. But research in neuroscience also shows that genetic makeup is not destiny: […]

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Are the best days in mental health services behind us?

by Thomas Ellis, PsyD, ABPP January 30, 2014

In a compelling story in a recent episode of CBS’s 60 Minutes, Virginia state Senator Creigh Deeds tells the wrenching story of losing his 24-year old son to suicide, shortly after his son had attacked him with a knife. This occurred the day after Deeds had taken his son to an emergency room, only to be […]

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It’s Good to be Good: Love Your Neighbor

by Stephen G. Post, PhD January 17, 2014

So long as you draw some boundaries and don’t get overwhelmed, it’s good to be good and science says it’s so. Basically, love your neighbor and be a bit happier and healthier. Is there a definition of love that pretty much everyone out on an American highway can connect with from experience? I found one […]

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The promise of lasting change: 5 tips for achieving New Year’s resolutions

by John O'Neill, LCSW, LCDC, CAS December 30, 2013

Oscar Wilde once stated, “Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.” Are you writing checks that your body cannot cash? Are you the person who develops five New Year’s resolutions on December 31 only to drop them by January 2? Most of us have probably developed […]

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The universal power of stories to heal, challenge and create meaning

by Elizabeth Newlin, MD November 27, 2013

On a recent trip home from Boston, I experienced one of those random but sort of wonderful encounters that you don’t soon forget. I had the hotel arrange for a car and driver rather than renting a car since I am not really great with directions, and I am just not the best driver. Anyhow, […]

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