1A. Does labeling a person with a psychiatric diagnosis impact them in a positive or a negative way and if so how?
This is a very important and complex question and I think the responses will vary depending on the theoretical perspective someone may practice under. A person working strictly from a CBT perspective most likely will have a different answer than a person working strictly under a psychoanalytic perspective.
I do think there are positive and negative impacts when it comes to a diagnosis. Regarding the positive aspect, people struggling with a mental health disorder may find alleviating the fact that their symptoms have a reason and that they are not the only ones who are experiencing them. Also knowing that there are treatments for their specific disorder may bring positivity and hope and they may find the diagnosis as a validation of their experience.
On the other hand, diagnosing may create a label that is hard to take away. Some people would start identifying with their disorder, making it difficult to explore other areas of themselves; their lives will revolve around it. Also, I think individuals are much more prone to stigma if they are diagnosed with a psychiatric diagnosis and as we have seen stigma can be detrimental for someone’s self-esteem and identity. Moreover, in the clinical setting, sometimes clinicians tend to generalize and assume many things about an individual only based on their diagnosis and this can be one of the most common and in my opinion, dangerous mistakes to make. Not because someone has a diagnosis, means that the experience is the same as the others with the same diagnoses
1B. Discuss the role of NAMI in supporting families of these suffering from mental illness.
NAMI is the National Alliance of Mental Ilness. It’s history and foundation started 40 years ago as it was based on families looking for answers and treatment options for what can be assumed to be a challenging situation. The focus of the organization was on family to family education. Their mission statement is “NAMI provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives.”
NAMI has grown into a powerful force for mental health justice and education. I’ve used NAMI has sources for educational material for my clients as the organization provides relevant and accurate information regarding mental illness and mental health management. I once attended a NAMI event in which they held a small conference for the Mental Health Care leaders, workers, and community members of Miami Dade to discuss issues regarding Baker Acts and Crisis.
NAMI is spread through out the country with multiple placements in Florida alone, however, the organization remains humble, passionate, and empathetic toward people living with mental illness as well as educating others through family to family group sessions. NAMI leads the charge in providing the community with educational tools while overcoming mental illness stigmatization.
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