First Presenter's Institution

Family Recovery of Southwest Georgia

Second Presenter's Institution

Family Recovery of Southwest Georgia

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Session 2 (Sloane)

Strand #1

Mental & Physical Health

Relevance

This proposal relates to the HEALTH strand in that it focuses on the challenges and benefits of proper mental health diagnosing and how the diagnosis itself and language around it can contribute to either mental health or mental illness.

Brief Program Description

When a person receives a mental health diagnosis, they are often started down a path of receiving help, but also of receiving stigma. This presentation will discuss how language around a diagnosis can affect a child’s sense of self as well as either help or hurt a student’s ability to manage and heal.

Summary

Mental health diagnoses have become a part of our daily language. We use diagnostic language to describe ourselves and our behaviors (“I’m so OCD!” after feeling a need to clean). In the past 10-20 years, our ability to identify and understand diagnoses has increased dramatically. However, even though mental health diagnoses have become more common, there is still a large amount of confusion and mis-information that exists around diagnosing. When a student receives a mental health diagnosis, they are often able to begin to get the help they need. However, with diagnosis also comes stigma and labeling, which can affect a child’s ability to heal. When a student is labeled as “ADHD,” “Bipolar” or any other mental health diagnosis, the label can become central to a child’s identity. If one’s diagnosis becomes their identity, then there is little impetus or belief for change within the person. When we label others, we can find ourselves assuming that change is not possible. In order for a student to manage their symptoms and begin to heal, they have to understand their diagnosis, but also understand that their diagnosis does not define them. This presentation will discuss the benefits and challenges of the diagnostic process, the limits of formal diagnosing, and how labeling limits a student’s ability to heal. We will demonstrate the importance of language in how we speak about mental health. We will also discuss how the ways that we talk to students and each other about mental health can either aid or impede the healing process.

Evidence

This proposal will use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V) and it’s history to discuss the history of diagnosing. Research from groups such as SAMHSA (substance abuse and mental health services administration), NAMI (national alliance on mental illness), NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), and others regarding the effects of stigma on functioning will be used as well.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Elizabeth Marston is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker living in Moultrie, Georgia. She completed her MSW at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has pursued advanced training in trauma and completed basic training for EMDR. In her private practice, she works with individuals of all ages, couples, and families. She specializes in working with clients diagnosed with personality disorders as well as complex trauma.

Sam Marion is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker from Moultrie, Georgia. He completed his MSW at the University of Georgia. He has advanced training in trauma, play therapy, and EMDR. Fluent in Spanish, Sam enjoys being able to provide services to clients throughout the community. He enjoys using sand tray, art, play, and other expressive therapies when working with people of varying ages, as well as couples and families, within his private practice setting.

Keyword Descriptors

Mental Health, Diagnosis, ADHD, Social Work, Anxiety, Depression

Presentation Year

2020

Start Date

3-9-2020 1:15 PM

End Date

3-9-2020 2:30 PM

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Mar 9th, 1:15 PM Mar 9th, 2:30 PM

What’s in a name? How the language of mental health diagnoses affects the ability to heal

Session 2 (Sloane)

When a person receives a mental health diagnosis, they are often started down a path of receiving help, but also of receiving stigma. This presentation will discuss how language around a diagnosis can affect a child’s sense of self as well as either help or hurt a student’s ability to manage and heal.