In 2009 the WPA President established a Task Force that was to examine available evidence about the stigmatization of psychiatry and psychiatrists and to make recommendations about action that national psychiatric societies and psychiatrists as professionals could do to reduce or prevent the stigmatization of their discipline as well as to prevent its nefarious consequences. This paper presents a summary of the Task Force's findings and recommendations. The Task Force reviewed the literature concerning the image of psychiatry and psychiatrists in the media and the opinions about psychiatry and psychiatrists of the general public, of students of medicine, of health professionals other than psychiatrists and of persons with mental illness and their families. It also reviewed the evidence about the interventions that have been undertaken to combat stigma and consequent discrimination and made a series of recommendations to the national psychiatric societies and to individual psychiatrists. The Task Force laid emphasis on the formulation of best practices of psychiatry and their application in health services and on the revision of curricula for the training of health personnel. It also recommended that national psychiatric societies establish links with other professional associations, with organizations of patients and their relatives and with the media in order to approach the problems of stigma on a broad front. The Task Force also underlined the role that psychiatrists can play in the prevention of stigmatization of psychiatry, stressing the need to develop a respectful relationship with patients, to strictly observe ethical rules in the practice of psychiatry and to maintain professional competence.
Keywords: Stigmatization; ethical rules; general public; media; medical students; patients and relatives; psychiatrists; psychiatry.