Conclusion
Is it time to change our approach to anti-stigma campaigns?
in Destigmatising mental illness?
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The book concludes that healthcare workers’ efforts to destigmatise mental illness by educating the public were inherently flawed. There was no consensus amongst healthcare workers about what message should be imparted to the public, because different professional groups disputed what mental illness was and how it should be treated. Furthermore, healthcare workers’ professional agendas and intra- and inter-professional disputes sometimes conflicted with their desire to destigmatise mental illness. By drawing attention to their success in curing acute patients, healthcare workers inadvertently reinforced the stigma attached to enduring mental health problems. Drawing on service users’ observations and these historical findings, the conclusion evaluates contemporary campaigns such as Time to Change which aim to destigmatise mental illness. It suggests that the focus of such campaigns upon recovery, minor mental health issues and public attitudes is misplaced, and that attention should be drawn to structural discrimination and government policies which curtail the opportunities of people who suffer from severe mental illness.

Destigmatising mental illness?

Professional politics and public education in Britain, 1870–1970

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