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What's in a Word?


Pam Hyde, head of the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), has opened a dialogue about words that are used -- or avoided -- in the mental health community. For example, some believe "consumer" is too vague or demeaning for a person who lives with mental illness, but "patient" and "client" are too medical or subservient in nature. Other terms that may lack clear definition include "mental health" and "recovery."

What do you think? Please read Hyde's invitation for dialogue and the list of terms she mentions. Send comments to Please also send a copy of your message to us to inform our own thinking: Your opinion is important.

Like Fiction, Like Life?

Mental Health at the Movies

Fiction and film may be tools for training psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, according to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal.

Fictional characters don't have privacy concerns. With fiction, students also can encounter more disorders than they might in real life. In theory, this assumes that fiction and film portrayals are accurate and don't represent stigmatizing portrayals.

That may be a stretch. According to Glen Gabbard, M.D. of Baylor University's medical school, very few of the more than 400 portrayals of therapists in films he's reviewed were "reasonably accurate." The estimate doesn't include people actually living with mental illness.

Can you list up to 10 novels or films based on fiction that are "reasonably accurate" and worth recommending to a medical student-or anyone else? Send suggestions to

National Video Contest: Beginning July 15

What a Difference a Friend Makes

SAMHSA and the U.S. Ad Council are sponsoring a video contest beginning July 15 to help educate and inspire young adults 18-25 years old to support friends and family they know are experiencing a mental health problem.

Creative background for the "What a Difference a Friend Makes" campaign can be found at and The contest's goal is to find an engaging, short video to generate content for viral dissemination and an create online "buzz" about the campaign.

The contest will end August 15.

The winner will be announced on September 15 and will receive an all-expenses paid trip for two to the annual Voice Awards gala on October 13, 2010 in Hollywood, where the video will be showcased. Smaller runner up prizes such as Flip cameras will also be awarded.

The contest website will not be "live" until July 15 so please make sure to save this address until then to get full official information:

Submissions will need to demonstrate a creative and fun way to help a friend during a tough time in their lives. Stories can be drawn from real life or be fictional. The identity of a friend does not have to be revealed.

Eyes & Ears

Have you seen stigma in the news, entertainment or advertising media? You are our eyes and ears! Send a report to Because of the large number of messages received, they cannot all be answered individually; however, we appreciate every one and review and prioritize them for action. Please also contact the source directly-you have more power than you know! We also appreciate getting copies of responses you receive to evaluate. Your help makes a difference!

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