Modern Myths of "Mental Illness"

Paula Caplan, Ph.D., Celia Brown, Amy Smith, Steve Stone, M.A., and Lauren Tenney, Ph.D., M.Phil., M.P.A.

The courageous and hard work of those involved in Rights Protection and Advocacy is made more difficult by a number of pervasive and powerful myths, and this results in massive harm to those who seek help within the mental health system. Each year, the NARPA conference includes wise, experienced speakers who address some of the myths. Our proposal is aimed at both people new to NARPA events and people with vast experience, because it is important to look within a short period of time (90-minute workshop) at how many such myths there are and how many of them interact with and reinforce each other. Until we see the full force of what RP&A work is up against, each of us will continue to work on one piece of the problem with probably less success than if we can see how to work on more than one piece – or many pieces – at once. Each presenter has decades of experience working in numerous parts of the system in various roles.

Learning Goals and Objectives:

  • are to present an overview of some of the most powerful and destructive myths of the modern mental health system,
  • describe some common themes among them and ways they support each other,
  • propose some ways to educate the public that these are myths,
  • and work with survivors and RP&A workers to attack the myths for the benefit of those who seek help within the system.