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

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latest news

Mental Health Services in Powys survey

5 February 2018

What do you think of mental health services in Powys? Complete a short survey to feed in your views to the reps sitting on the Powys Mental Health Planning & Development Partnership.

events

Depression Busting Course (2 days)

Monday 26 February 2018

Newtown

Stand Up! For Emotional Health & Wellbeing

Monday 26 February 2018

A network for anyone with an interest in mental health, including people who have used mental health services, carers or service providers - Welshpool

Dementia Friendly Fun Activity Sessions

Monday 26 February 2018

Brecon Leisure Centre

Adult Autism (ASD) Training

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Brecon

Celf-Able Art Group

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Llanfair Caereinion

Time Management Course

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Ponthafren, Newtown

Executive Committee

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Powys Community Health Council

2018 National Peer-supported Open Dialogue Conference

Wednesday 28 February 2018

London

Meal Deal (Chinese Buffet)

Wednesday 28 February 2018

Ponthafren, Newtown

My Memory – Gentle exercise with Julia Gorman

Wednesday 28 February 2018

Dementia Friendly Newtown

Applied Suicide Intervention (ASIST) training (2 days)

Thursday 1 March 2018

Llandrindod Wells

Caring for those who Care

Friday 2 March 2018

Hosted by Hafal-Crossroads in Newtown to celebrate and show appreciation of unpaid Carers (past and present) and the people for whom they care

Ghost Walk of Newtown

Monday 5 March 2018

With Rory Evans

Yoga (every Tuesday)

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Newtown

MIND Community Wellbeing Cafe, Crickhowell

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Weekly get together for people suffering from anxiety

Celf-Able Art Group

Wednesday 7 March 2018

Newtown

Disability Awareness Training

Thursday 8 March 2018

Newtown

Dementia Awareness Training

Thursday 8 March 2018

Llandrindod Wells

Friendship Cafe

Friday 9 March 2018

Newtown

Stand Up! For Emotional Health & Wellbeing

Tuesday 13 March 2018

A network for anyone with an interest in mental health, including people who have used mental health services, carers or service providers - Newtown

Full Council Meeting

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Powys Community Health Council

Celf-Able Art Group

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Machynlleth

My Memories – Knighton Museum and coffee shop

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Dementia Friendly Newtown

Depression Management Course (3 weeks, Wednesdays)

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Mid Powys Mind

Drug Use Screening Tool (DUST) Training

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Brecon

Celf-Able Art Group

Thursday 15 March 2018

Guilsfield

Everyday Mindfulness with Amanda Roberts

Monday 19 March 2018

Ponthafren, Newtown

Celf-Able Art Group

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Llanfair Caereinion

Newtown Music Group

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Dementia Friendly Newtown

Dementia Carers' Group

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Ystradgynlais

Celf-Able Art Group

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Caersws

Consultation - Present & Future Services

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Consultation of Carers - what works well, not so well and any ideas about future services

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

My Memories – Sugar Craft with Mel

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Dementia Friendly Newtown

Dementia Friendly Fun Activity Sessions

Thursday 29 March 2018

Brecon Leisure Centre

MIND Community Wellbeing Cafe, Crickhowell

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Weekly get together for people suffering from anxiety

Celf-Able Art Group

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Newtown

Building Self Worth Course (3 weeks, Wednesdays)

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Mid Powys Mind

Dementia Friendly Fun Activity Session

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Brecon Leisure Centre

Celf-Able Art Group

Thursday 19 April 2018

Guilsfield

Compassionate Mental Health Conference (2 days)

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Brecon, Powys

80's Disco Night

Saturday 28 April 2018

Newtown

Stress & Anxiety Management Course (3 weeks, Wednesdays)

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Mid Powys Mind

Mental Health Today Wales 2018

Thursday 10 May 2018

Conference in Cardiff

Public Health Network Cymru - Sustainability Showcase 2018

Thursday 10 May 2018

Llandrindod Wells

Managing Depression Course (3 weeks, Mondays)

Monday 4 June 2018

Presteigne

THRIVE Course (5 weeks, Mondays)

Monday 4 June 2018

Mid Powys Mind

Community Workers Meetings (Montgomeryshire)

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Credu (formerly Powys Carers)

Mental Health First Aid Course (2 days)

Tuesday 3 July 2018

Presteigne
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