Image courtesy of Crippen Cartoons under a Creative Commons licence.

What is stigma?

Stigma is a societal reaction which singles out certain attributes, evaluates them as undesirable, and devalues the persons who possess them.  Agnes Miles 1981

Dictionary definitions include stigma as a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one's reputation.

Goffmen defines stigma as an "attribute that is deeply discrediting".

Tackling stigma - campaigns and approaches

There are three main approaches that underpin activities that seek to tackle stigma.  They are:

  1. "Illnesses like any other".  Activities that assume stigma is caused by people not recognising that mental health problems are illnesses like any other and a belief that unless distress is seen as part of an illness, people will blame sufferers for their own problems.
  2. "Social Model of Disability".  Activities that draw on  ideas from the wider disability movement, namely the ‘social model’ of disability. This proposes that, rather than the problem for people with disabilities being the actual impairment, most difficulties lie in the way society organises itself.
  3. "A natural and normal response to life experiences". Activities that are based on the idea that mental health problems are a natural and normal responses to the terrible things that can happen to us.  This approach assumes that making sure that people's experiences seem more understandable will help to tackle stigma by enabling people to empathise more.  There is increasing evidence that even the most severe mental health problems are not the result simply of faulty genes or brain chemicals (i.e. "mental illness"). 

Tell us what you think

What do you think causes stigma? Which approach(s) do you think will be most effective? What activities do you think might work best? Share your ideas, experiences and tell us if you would like to be more involved in activities that seek to "tackle stigma"?

Let us know what you think by contacting us on 01686 628 300 or 01597 822191, or email us at mentalhealth(at)pavo.org.uk.  Or you can tell us by completing our confidential feedback form (you only need to complete question 4) here.

Activities - A natural and normal response to life experiences

  • Powys - Powys Mental Health Blog.  More here.
  • Wales - A Little Insight - Young people from the Voice Collective came together to create this stigma busting animation.  2 minute video
  • Powys - DIY Futures Book - 12 people's stories from Powys.  More here.

Activities - "illness like any other approach"

  • UK and Wales - Time To Change Campaign.  More here.
  • England - Talk Out Loud - a group of young people in England who are voicing their opinions to change the stigma of mental health. More here.
  • UK - Saneline Black Dog Campaign.  Watch a film on You Tube here.  More here. 

Stigma and mental health strategy in Wales

Tackling the stigma surrounding mental health problems is identified in many strategies relevant to Wales.

  • Together for Mental Health - National Welsh Strategy.  More here.
  • Powys Hearts and Minds - Powys Strategy.  More here.

Articles on stigma that may be of interest ...

Unconventional Wisdom? Time To Challenge – Tackling Stigma.  Laura Gallagher. More here.

When The Ads Don't Work.  Anne Cooke and Dave Harper.  More here.

Stigma-Free Support Needed for Positive Recovery Parenting.  Heidi Tweedie, explores some of the issues facing parents who experience mental ill-health.  Read her article here.

Get Help Now

Owen writes about the value of #gaming hubs, #choirs, #menssheds & #bookclubs in Part 1 of his new series on… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…

We are recruiting a Medical Secretary to join our Mental Health team at Bronllys Hospital. Apply by 21 December at… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…

Check out ""Suicide First-Aid 2018: the evidence lives on" in Cardiff on 5 Feb 2018. Special guests Jonny Benjamin… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…

latest news

Standing up for emotional health & wellbeing: Farmers

7 December 2017

Watch our video: representatives from the farming community talk to the Big Cheeses from Powys Teaching Health Board about mental health services in the county.

events

Celf-Able Art Group

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Llanfair Caereinion

Mental Capacity Act & Best Interest Training

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Newtown

Full Council Meeting

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Powys Community Health Council

Meal Deal

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Ponthafren, Newtown

Hearing Voices Peer Support Group (2nd & 4th Thursday)

Thursday 14 December 2017

Mid Powys Mind

Music Group

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Dementia Friendly Newtown

Celf-Able Art Group

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Newtown

Singing Group

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Dementia Friendly Newtown

Celf-Able Art Group

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Machynlleth

Ponthafren Christmas Meal

Thursday 21 December 2017

Newtown Football Club

Celf-Able AGM

Tuesday 9 January 2018

Newtown

Adult Autism (ASD) Training

Monday 22 January 2018

Newtown

Mental Capacity Act & Best Interest Training

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Newtown

Montgomeryshire Local Committee

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Powys Community Health Council

The Bird Company – ‘Barriers’

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Celf-Able, Newtown

Celf-Able Art Group

Tuesday 30 January 2018

Newtown

Challenging Behaviour in Dementia Training

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Llandrindod Wells

Community Workers Meetings (Montgomeryshire)

Wednesday 7 February 2018

Credu (formerly Powys Carers)

SURE for Mental Health Training (2 days)

Thursday 8 February 2018

Llandrindod Wells

Radnorshire & Brecknock Local Committee

Thursday 8 February 2018

Powys Community Health Council

Depression Busting Course (2 days)

Monday 26 February 2018

Newtown

Adult Autism (ASD) Training

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Brecon

Executive Committee

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Powys Community Health Council

Disability Awareness Training

Thursday 8 March 2018

Newtown

Dementia Awareness Training

Thursday 8 March 2018

Llandrindod Wells

Full Council Meeting

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Powys Community Health Council

Drug Use Screening Tool (DUST) Training

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Brecon

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) Awareness Training

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Llandrindod Wells

ACTivate Your Life Classes - Tuesdays (4 weeks)

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Powys Teaching Health Board, Brecon

Community Workers Meetings (Montgomeryshire)

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Credu (formerly Powys Carers)
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