Marketing Mental Illness

I’m convinced that mental illness has a marketing problem. I spoke with Dese’Rae L. Stage about it when we met a few weeks ago.
Simply look around at all of the great bloggers out there working to challenge stigma. How do you think that stigma got there?

There are hundreds of years of complicated history behind what got us here. It won’t be erased overnight.

The good news is, clever marketing is extremely powerful. We can change the way people feel, fairly quickly. Think of viral network effects, or even, pre-internet, Nazism. Ideas spread quickly when they touch our emotions.

One of the things I don’t like about the way mental illness has been marketed is the term ‘Mental Illness’. Perhaps it’s correct from the standpoint of a textbook definition, but, what ‘mental illness’ has come to mean to the lay public is not ‘a condition which impairs ones ability to function daily.’

No, sadly it means ‘I need Prozac’ or ‘I don’t see anything wrong with you’ or ‘Why don’t you just snap out of it?’ or ‘criminal’ or ‘unfit mother’ to many.

There are so many aspects to this that I’m going to break it up into several posts. I’d love to hear you weigh in.

What can we do to change the way people feel about mental illness?

– MF


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