Once individuals enter treatment, a different set of rules applies. Whereas the public tends to normalize behavior, mental health professionals tend to assume illness. First, because the medical model of mental illness stresses that treatment usually helps and rarely harms, it encour- ages mental health workers to define mental illness broadly. Second, because men- tal health workers see prospective patients outside of any social context, behavior that might seem reasonable in context often seems incomprehensible. This is es- pecially likely when mental health workers and prospective patients come from different social worlds, whether because they differ in gender, ethnicity, social class, or some other factor. Third, mental health workers assume that individuals would not have been brought to their attention if they did not need care. Finally, because normalization and accommodation are so common, mental health workers often don’t see individuals until the situation has reached a crisis, making it relatively easy to conclude that the individuals are mentally ill.
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Labeling by the Psychiatric Establishment
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