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Patrick Corrigan: Empowering the Voice of Mental Health

Image of Patrick Corrigan

Patrick Corrigan, a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, has earned numerous accolades and is renowned for his tireless commitment to reshaping our understanding of mental health and disabilities.

Image of Patrick Corrigan
Patrick Corrigan

In 2022, Corrigan was honored with the prestigious APA Senior Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest, a testament to his lifelong devotion to this cause. His work delves deep into the social determinants of health and wellness, focusing on individuals grappling with psychiatric and other disabilities. Corrigan’s passion for this subject led to the establishment of ‘Stigma and Health’ in collaboration with the American Psychological Association in 2016, a platform dedicated to unraveling the complexities of stigma and its impact on health.

One of Corrigan’s most impactful contributions is his dedication to community-based participatory research (CBPR). He firmly believes that CBPR is the key to comprehending and altering the pervasive stigma surrounding mental health. By fostering true partnerships between individuals with lived experience, researchers, service providers, and other stakeholders, Corrigan’s research empowers those directly affected by these issues to share their knowledge and shape the path towards change.

Corrigan’s expansive body of work extends beyond the academic realm. He has authored or edited fifteen books, with his most recent work, “The Stigma of Disease and Disability,” shedding light on the ongoing struggles faced by those with disabilities. Moreover, his involvement in creating the ‘Honest, Open, Proud’ series of anti-stigma programs showcases his commitment to practical solutions and destigmatization efforts.

In a world where stigma continues to shroud mental health issues, Patrick Corrigan’s unwavering dedication and prolific research are guiding lights, inspiring positive change and breaking down barriers to understanding and compassion.

*All content was obtained from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Public Health Landscape or Valent BioSciences, LLC.

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As a society and as individuals, we find it easy to have empathy for someone who is suffering from physical illness. Diseases or conditions affecting the body’s physical structures or systems tend to be visible. Tend to be tangible. Physical ailments can usually be diagnosed through physical examinations. Symptoms can be traced back to known root causes and explained in straightforward terms we can understand.

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Given this common understanding, it follows that public health discussions often default to the physical as well. While a critical aspect of public health, dialogue surrounding mental health is far less common. Unlike most physical disorders, mental health challenges are typically not well understood. This unfamiliarity can breed fear and fear, in turn, creates stigma. Stigma is a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. It causes negative stereotypes, discrimination, and prejudice against people based on some distinguishing characteristic or condition. Most importantly, stigma is one of the primary barriers to improving mental health outcomes.