I know this is an old article but I wanted leave a comment anyway. I believe one of the reasons the mental health system is harmful both emotionally and mentally for so many is the stigma you receive from the very professionals who are supposed to be there for support and understanding. I really believe this is the core of the problem. One day I was googling “stigma from mental health professionals” and found a study that was done in Australia about this topic, it still takes on a pro mental health view but it does acknowledge that this is a huge problem and can be devastating to those looking for help and support. I posted this comment on psychcentral and thought I would copy and paste it here. “I don’t post alot on the forums, I’m mostly a lurker and it seems there’s alot of posts from people who feel they’ve been harmed in therapy and emotionally abused by the very people they went to for help, I guess I find it helpful because of my own experience and it left me feeling very hopeless, invalidated, and to be honest almost suicidal. I understand that many here feel that therapy has helped them and they’ve been fortunate enough to find a caring and compassionate therapist who didn’t do further damage or complicate the issues that brought them to therapy in the first place. But there are a lot of other people who are being severely harmed especially when it comes to attachment issues. My harmful experience was at a community mental health clinic, I don’t want to go into all the details and I did post about it a couple years ago under a different user name and then I deleted that account because of fear it would be recognizable. In fact my experience got even worse after that incident and I have no desire to return to mental health services again. I’m on my own and still dealing with the problems that initially brought me to therapy but also left to deal with the hurt and shame I feel as a result of everything that happened. Ultimately I think the core issue with the MH System and what I experienced as well as so many others is the stigma from the very people that are supposed to be supportive. It can make things even worse in some ways if you’re male, I’m not saying that women aren’t harmed too and of course they are but the problem with being male, which I am, is that they will make assumptions or have preconceived notions about you based on these mental health labels they put on you. I’m curious if many other’s here have felt that they were being stigmatized or made to feel less human or even dangerous when you’re not. Believe me I wouldn’t hurt a fly and I’ve never been dangerous, violent, or stalked people but I definitely felt treated that way at times and I think because of my PTSD it made the stigma even worse. Victim blaming is ********! I want to do something constructive with my hurt and anger, I’ve thought about starting a blog on what I see as major problems in the MH system but I don’t think I’m a very good writer, maybe I’ll try it anyway, it could be “therapeutic”. I copied the following text from an Australian study that was done in 2011 on stigma from mental health professionals towards their clients. Maybe it can give some other people a little validation about their own experiences. “Many consumers are subjected to stigmatizing attitudes from various health professionals. For example, across diagnostic categories, almost 29% of consumers reported that their treating health professional had shunned them. These figures rose to over 54% and 57% for consumers with post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder respectively. Similarly, over 44% of consumers agreed that health professionals treating them for a physical disorder behaved differently when they discovered their history of a mental illness. This level of stigma is dangerous and unacceptable. The time has come to develop and deliver evidence-based mental illness destigmatisation programs in medical and other health care settings to ensure that consumers can be confident that they will be treated within the medical system with the respect they deserve. When this stigma is received from a health professional providing mental health services the impact is likely to impede recovery and result in poor outcomes for the individual. The impact of stigma is two-fold and includes public stigma and self-stigma. Public stigma is how the general population reacts to people with a mental illness; while self-stigma refers to the prejudice, negative feelings and negative impact that discrimination has on a person with a mental illness. Stigma impedes recovery by negatively affecting social status, self-esteem and social networks. This can result in poor outcomes for the individual, including issues such as unemployment, isolation, delayed treatment seeking and hospitalization. These impediments are likely to lead to feelings of social isolation and exclusion for a person with a mental illness. Contending with this on top of a mental illness is going to affect their self-esteem and level of distress, making recovery all the more difficult. When a person is being stigmatised by their health professional, these feelings are likely to be compounded, making treatment and recovery unlikely. Very little research has been conducted on the attitudes of professionals providing care to patients and clients with a mental illness. Mental health professionals often serve as role models and opinion leaders within the mental health sector, and they are the people consumers tend to see when they are at their most vulnerable and whom they rely on for help, understanding and support. In addition, many mental health professionals are educators whose attitudes and behaviors influence future, professionals. Therefore, how people with a mental illness view the various mental health professions, and vice versa, can have serious consequences for treatment and quality of life for these people. Stigma is a major barrier to recovery for people with mental health problems, their families and those working in the field of mental health. Stigma acts as a ‘social disability’ – often contributing to at least the same amount of, if not more, stress than the original mental health issue. In its ground-breaking report, Not for Service, the Mental Health Council of Australia (2005) reported that accounts of highly negative, dismissive and stigmatising remarks by health staff towards persons with mental illness were still very common. In addition, family members often felt discounted or ignored by health workers. A recurring complaint among participants in one survey on mental health consumers’ experience of stigma was that consumers felt that doctors and psychologists treated them as less competent and they were discouraged from setting high goals. In the same survey, respondents also gave examples of disparaging comments made by mental health caregivers. One respondent reported that staff in psychiatric facilities often spoke about patients with disrespect and sometimes mocked them. One comment from a respondent, about her experience in medical school, echoed many similar statements made by mental health consumers: The treatment of psych patients in all rotations was awful. They would laugh at them, poke fun at them on rounds, disbelieve any physical complaint they had. One UK report (Salter & Byrne 2002) highlighted the need for mental health professions to tackle stigma. It found that in spite of the way stigma affects the work of psychiatrists, the prevailing attitude of psychiatry towards stigma seems to be ‘one of inertia and resignation’. According to this report, none of the main texts of psychiatry mention stigma and, with only a few notable exceptions, psychiatrists have taken a low profile in local and national debate about mental health issues. Several years after this research was conducted, people with mental illness in the UK still report encountering negative attitudes from mental health professionals. People experiencing mental illness often feel patronized, punished or humiliated and many rate mental health professionals as one of the groups that stigmatizes them the most. “ It’s ridiculous that a profession that’s supposed to be about healing, recovery, and safety harms so many people and the lack of self reflection and accountability is unbelievable.” Of course the study doesn’t acknowledge that they are the ones creating the stigma through their mental illness labels.