Schizophrenia Stigma Research
This month, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has produced an open-access edition of their journal, Psychiatric Bulletin
. You can download the full articles in free text and PDf form, and share them if you wish. The results are mixed. Some initiatives have been successful, others less so, some seem to have no impact. Can tolerance and acceptance be 'taught'? Can stigma be eradicated? And in all of this - what can the church learn from this work?
Below is a list of the relevant articles from the journal. Howe, Tickle and Brown first discuss how stigma can create more stigma - you get the double whammy of being in a minority group and the risk of mental illness this brings - hence we need to be extra careful that churches [yes Christianity is a minority group] do not worsen mental illness. Kennedy and Belgamwar discuss whether being different is helpful or unhelpful - if being mentally ill becomes too OK, then people will not get the help they could and illness-driven behaviour could be no longer excused. Lower down, Howe, Tickle and Brown now discuss how receiving a diagnosis of Schizophrenia is still a huge blow - and often one tainted with 19th Century thinking - lets make sure the church is better educated! Next Kennedy and Belgamwar report how work experience placements decrease stigma - and we know many church leaders receive a real wake up call when they do a 'hental health' placement at seminary - should such placements be mandatory? However, Mellor shows that school based interventions are not effective - what would happen if someone ran a course in your church? - or do we need to get 'out there' more? Hopson looks at how Psychiatrists are often the bad guys in movies - or if not bad, then ineffectual or a charletan - how are they portrayed in the Christian world? Then some 'persepctives' look at how stigma is changing within the Royal College; the process of 'coming out' as having schizophrenia to friends and family; and two pieces written by a psychiatrist who has had a psychotic episode - my guess is many in the church share the same hopes and fears as you can see from some of the testimonies
on this site.
Rob Waller, 16/08/2014