"No matter how much public stigma there is out there, it needn’t stick to me inside here."
Mental health stigma is a big deal for those with mental health conditions and for their families. It prevents many from getting help. Further, it constantly weighs on individuals working toward recovery. While efforts to reduce public stigma appear to be working, it’s still painfully there.
Owen’s message is that regardless of what’s out there, it needn’t stick to inside each individual. His own lived experience demonstrates how ugly self-stigma and shame are learned. He reviews how, over several years, he not only eliminated them from his thinking, but grew to appreciate how his journey to recovery has make him a better husband, father, citizen in his community, and professional. He now sees public stigma as being built on “dirty rotten nasty lies” passed on from previous generations.
He draws from the example of Fred Frese, the first individual with schizophrenia to become a psychologist in the U.S.; the writings of Nassir Ghaemi, Tufts University professor of psychiatry; and Ken Duckworth, NAMI chief medical officer. And, of course, the contributions of Brené Brown about shame must be included. He reviews academic studies about public shame and self-shame. Owen sprinkles humor throughout his presentations to make an engaging, uplifting, enlightening experience for his audiences.