Mental illness has its own medical specialty, its own volume of diagnostic codes, and its own vocabulary. The word stigma is one of the words that is now used in a special way. The coupling in the phrase “the stigma of mental illness” is pervasive. Instead of its intended use to eliminate stigma the constant reminder serves to maintain the concept of stigma in the public mind.
“Stigma” means discrimination and prejudice and shame. The mental health leadership would better align psychiatric disability with other disabilities and use the human rights language that they use.
Even anti-stigma campaigns maintain the separateness of things related to mental illness by using language to separate instead of to bridge.