The 4S anathema on Mental Health

Self / Social / Structural Stigma

The stigma on Mental Health (MH) refers exclusively in the context of social conditions and policies for the field while it is not associated with Mental Disorders (MDs) per se. Stigmatization has a specific historical course and types that follow respectively the evolution of the wider range perceptions about the nature and causes of MDs as well as the mainstream policies on MH.
Stigmatization is used in many ways as a mechanism
  • for the control of sufferers
  • maintaining the causes of MDs and their deterioration trend
  • obscuring the inadequacy of mental health policies
  • to exploit the MDs for the reproduction of the dominant ideology regarding diversity and the eventual maintenance of the ruling social, economic and political order.
The current approach to stigma consists in recognizing it as a human rights issue with a focus on the principles of tolerance and equity. With this perception it is indirectly introduced and becomes in principle an acceptable framework for distinguishing between mentally “sick” and “healthy” while there is not yet an objective and commonly accepted scientific definition of mental illness beyond the empirical clinical descriptions of each MD. Intense scientific dichotomies are characteristic even at the elementary level of the classification of MDs.

Despite this strong dimension related to Human Rights, stigma is a major Public health issue that results in the overall functioning of the political / economic system: if something hinders the integrated provision of health services then elements of the core of the state, as it is described and legitimized in modern perceptions of its acceptance and operation, are affected, violated, or ignored.

The effective fight against and elimination of stigma can consist of the revision of the perceptions about MDs, the relevant rehabilitation practices, and the formulation of an updated strategic approach to the field of Mental Health. This is not a single entity work.

A list of 10 axes for action concludes this statement.

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