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Recovery and stigma: issues of social justice 

Recovery and stigma: issues of social justice
Chapter:
Recovery and stigma: issues of social justice
Author(s):

Elizabeth Flanagan

, Dror Ben Zeev

, and Patrick Corrigan

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199691319.003.0017
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date: 11 December 2019

This chapter draws upon the findings of qualitative and quantitative research to address stigma and social justice as they relate to recovery from mental illness. Stigma towards people with mental illness has been identified as a primary impediment to people's recovery from mental illness and inclusion as full members of a community. Recovery has long been understood as an issue of social justice. However, stigma research has often been dominated by a medical approach, according to which stigma will disappear when serious mental illness is cured, because symptoms that elicit stigma are no longer evident. In reality, essential to moving forward is an understanding of stigma as a matter of social injustice. As such, it is framed in the same light as other forms of prejudice and discrimination that have hounded the modern world, such as racism, sexism, and ageism, to name just a few. As social injustice, mental illness stigma is largely the responsibility of the societies that created it. Framing mental illness stigma in terms of an ethics reminds us that people with mental illness are just that—people. As such they are entitled to the same human rights that are enjoyed by everyone in their community and culture—a primary tenet of the recovery movement. A combination of social science research and background in the recovery movement can strengthen this case, as illustrated here.

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