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.

Happy #RedNoseDay! Comic Relief funds projects around the UK incl Stand Up! for emotional health & wellbeing.… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

One week today! #compassionate #mentalhealth gathering Cardiff #ShoutoutWales Still chance to be part of MH change compassionatementalhealth.co.uk/speakers

Live in the Newtown area in #Powys and interested in Dementia? Come to our drop-in at Newtown Library on 30 March.… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

latest news

Ponthafren Welshpool Outreach is recruiting Volunteer Support Workers

23 March 2017

Could you offer some time and enthusiasm to support this mental health charity in North Powys?

events

Appropriate Adult Training (HAFAL)

Monday 27 March 2017

Ponthafren, Newtown

Monthly Carers Group

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Ponthafren, Newtown

Don't Dis-Me

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Training day looking at disability issues and how the arts can be used to empower individuals and communities (Llandrindod Wells)

Job Club (Hay-on-Wye)

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Stepping Stones Project, Brecon & District Mind

Job Club (Crickhowell)

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Stepping Stones Project, Brecon & District Mind

Dementia Network Meeting

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Brecon

Anger Management Course

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Mid Powys Mind, Llandrindod Wells

Compassionate Mental Health Conference (2 days)

Thursday 30 March 2017

Cardiff

Embracing Individuality

Thursday 30 March 2017

A group for adults on the autistic spectrum or those who think they might be (Rhayader)

Anger Management Session

Thursday 30 March 2017

Ponthafren, Newtown

Knit & Stitch Group

Friday 31 March 2017

Dementia Friendly Newtown

A Creative Space (every Thursday)

Thursday 6 April 2017

Celf O Gwmpas, Llandrindod Wells

Concert featuring The Quiet Ranters

Saturday 8 April 2017

Brecon & District Mind Event

Singing Group

Monday 10 April 2017

Brecon (Dementia Matters in Powys)

Brecon Library Book Club

Tuesday 11 April 2017

Dementia Friendly Brecon

The Bird House - Celf-Able

Thursday 13 April 2017

Exhibition at Celf o Gwmpas, Llandrindod Wells

Montgomeryshire Local Committee

Tuesday 25 April 2017

Powys Community Health Council

Building Self Worth - 3 week course

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Mid Powys Mind, Llandrindod Wells

'Down the Line' Workshop (4 classes)

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Celf o Gwmpas, Llandrindod Wells

ACTivate Your Life classes - Tuesdays (4 weeks)

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Powys Teaching Health Board, Brecon

Brecon Social Club (every Wednesday)

Wednesday 3 May 2017

Dementia Friendly Brecon

THRIVE - For Staff & Volunteers - 3 week course

Monday 8 May 2017

Mid Powys Mind, LLandrindod Wells

Talk about Therapeutic Benefits of Pottery Making

Tuesday 9 May 2017

Brecon & District Mind

Mental Health Today Wales 2017

Wednesday 10 May 2017

Conference & Exhibition in Cardiff

Radnorshire & Brecknock Local Committee

Thursday 11 May 2017

Powys Community Health Council

Dementia Awareness Day

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Powys Teaching Health Board Event in Newtown

Executive Committee

Tuesday 30 May 2017

Powys Community Health Council

TrekFest - The Beacons 2017

Saturday 3 June 2017

Walk the walk this year with Bipolar UK (2 days)

Stress & Anxiety Management - 3 week course

Tuesday 6 June 2017

Mid Powys Mind, Llandrindod Wells

Summer Fair

Saturday 10 June 2017

Brecon & District Mind Event

Full Council Meeting

Tuesday 13 June 2017

Powys Community Health Council

Storytelling for Health Conference (2 days)

Friday 16 June 2017

Arts in Health, Wales

Asylum: Action and Reaction conference

Wednesday 28 June 2017

A conference in Manchester to celebrate 30 years of Asylum magazine

Mental Health Awareness Course

Wednesday 5 July 2017

Mid Powys Mind

Montgomeryshire Local Committee

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Powys Community Health Council

Tea-on-Top with Brecon & District Mind

Sunday 30 July 2017

Join us for a walk up the Crug

ACTivate Your Life Classes - Wednesdays (4 weeks)

Wednesday 2 August 2017

Powys Teaching Health Board, Brecon

Radnorshire & Brecknock Local Committee

Thursday 10 August 2017

Powys Community Health Council

Executive Committee

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Powys Community Health Council

ISPS Conference in Liverpool

Wednesday 30 August 2017

International Society for Psychological & Social Approaches to Psychosis (ISPS)

Full Council Meeting

Tuesday 12 September 2017

Powys Community Health Council

Montgomeryshire Local Committee

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Powys Community Health Council

Radnorshire & Brecknock Local Committee

Thursday 9 November 2017

Powys Community Health Council

ACTivate Your Life Classes - Mondays (4 weeks)

Monday 20 November 2017

Powys Teaching Health Board, Brecon

Executive Committee

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Powys Community Health Council

Full Council Meeting

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Powys Community Health Council

Montgomeryshire Local Committee

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Powys Community Health Council

Radnorshire & Brecknock Local Committee

Thursday 8 February 2018

Powys Community Health Council

Executive Committee

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Powys Community Health Council

Full Council Meeting

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Powys Community Health Council
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