Inside Science

In today’s Scotsman, the Inside Science column is by Stephen Lawrie, Professor of Psychiatry at Edinburgh University. It can be read here . As a native of Edinburgh and a retired NHS Psychiatrist who worked in Scotland for over 25 years I find myself reflecting rather differently to Professor Lawrie.

It was the dark streets of Edinburgh that inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write his great study of dualism: The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Professor Lawrie talks about a new “dangerous narrative” which stigmatises mental illness and presents his case against “latter-day antipsychiatrists”. It seems very strange to me that when asking us to address stigma he uses language which is, in itself, stigmatising. Professor Lawrie rightly challenges dualistic understandings of physical and mental  health and yet portrays in polarising terms anyone who expresses concerns about the certainty of prevailing approaches in psychiatry.  Professor Lawrie’s approach, by dividing understandings in this way, strengthens the very stigma he claims to challenge.

(1)  Professor Lawrie is involved with continuing medical education including presenting on working with the pharmaceutical industry.

(2) My published article on Iatrogenic stigma: “Window Tax” 

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