The Mark of Shame: Stigma of Mental Illness and an Agenda for Change

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Stigmatization of mental disorder erodes personal well-being, family relations, economic productivity, and public health. Because stigma promotes shame and silence, mental illness is seldom discussed openly, despite recent shifts in cultural practices. The Mark of Shame provides a thorough and compelling analysis of the many issues related to the stigmatisation of mental illness and to the kinds of solutions for this complex and longstanding problem that show the most promise of succeeding. In The Mark of Shame, Stephen P. Hinshaw addresses the psychological, social, historical, and evolutionary roots of the stigma of mental illness as well as the long history of such stigmatisation. After appraising empirical evidence and indicators from the general culture (e.g. language usage, media portrayals, discriminatory practices), and after considering developmental issues plus parallels with other social problems, they provide an agenda for humanising the ways in which mental illness is viewed, so that families, communities, and society at large can overcome exclusionary tendencies and individuals with mental illness can cope more effectively.