Combating Stigma


Community Care reports that a large, in fact, the largest ever, campaign to tackle stigma relating to Mental Health was launched yesterday in England.

The Campaign, called ‘Time to Change’ is a joint effort between Mind, Rethink and Mental Health Media and as well as television adverts, they have set up an expansive website which has a forum (which unsurprisingly, isn’t terribly active yet) and some blogs where people are invited to start writing. There are some interesting posts up there already and hopefully it will be something that is able to be maintained.

They have also set up a social networking site, Open Up, where people can post profiles and join discussions relating to experiences of stigma in the context of how it relates to Mental Health.

There is obviously a great push into ‘New’ Media and ways of communicating through this campaign but as always it is very much dependent on people participating and doing so actively.

On one hand it is about giving people who have experienced stigma as a result of mental distress, a platform and a space to discuss experiences but it is also about presenting adverts and information to those who might be liable to discriminate or stigmatise others.

They also have some information on the website about running your own local anti-stigma campaign along with resources such as posters, available to set things up.

6 thoughts on “Combating Stigma

  1. Both myself and Hubby have received postcards from the ‘Campaign’ – I think we signed up to something a while ago, but cannot remember to be honest. I can’t help thinking it just isn’t going to have any impact .More likely it will continue to justify the existance of the charities rather than really tackiling issues at grass root level.

  2. I welcome this campaign and wish it well. It’s long overdue and I really hope it gets the high profile the issue needs.
    Having looked at the site, the employment stuff really struck a chord with me. Andy Harley’s blog Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before…No Actually Don’t – Just Tell Someone Else Who Hasn’t tells it like it is. And, with employment being so significant in Recovery, he needs to heard.
    Some of the worst offenders in my experience are health and social care employers and practitioners – funny that….If I disclose my family history of schizophrenia and my history of clinical depression I can see that health workers think I’ve been sleeping with the enemy; social workers think I need protecting; and line managers are waiting for me to go loco. The GSCC manages to combine all three responses.
    I do think that “wounded healers” need to come out – if only to each other. That said, fear of stigma and victimasation is so strong that I blog and comment anonymously…

  3. Seratonin Sister – That’s a good point but I think it is a matter of what might work for one person might not for another. And it doesn’t do any harm to promote the ideas present.
    Lilybright – I hope it works. The forums/blogs/social networking sites are useful additions and perhaps is a way of bringing something new to the table.
    And I am sadly not remotely surprised by the attitudes that are expressed by people working in the field of health and social care. I wish it did surprise but I have seen those attitudes expressed in a work setting.

  4. I’ve been lucky in that my employer (in the City!) has been extremely supportive. When my last episode started and I had to disclose my disability and go part-time (I ended up off sick for a few months actually) I sent an email round to allmy co-workers and an FAQ about my condition attached (yes, I work in IT, so yes, I am this geeky). Said FAQ contained lots of jokes to ensure it got read. I also sent an email when I was on a pass from hospital during my absence to be circulated to some co-workers explaining what the hospital was like, etc, so they could see it wasn’t some weird out-of-normal-existence experience or victorian asylum. This seems to have worked well. I’ve had nothing but lovely supportive comments and emails.

    I had been there 4 years already at the time, and my workplace is short on fuckwits, so that helped. I would not have been able to cope if I had been trying to keep it quiet.

    I’m aware that I was in a very privileged position to be able to do this and that stigma is a real problem for many, which makes me very angry, as I think being isolated kills people where mental illness is concerned.

  5. DeeDee, it’s great to hear about a really supportive workplace. Ironically (and as Lilybright stated above) I don’t think my own work environment would engender the same responses.
    It is the thought of having to push things under the carpet that makes it so much more difficult to manage.

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