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

Lovely Meeting with Dafydd Llywelyn The Police commissioner for Wales today. 👮👣 pic.twitter.com/bM9YD1A9uB

Introducing Philip Moisson new #Participation Officer in our team & facilitator #Powys Patients' Council… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

SAVE THE DATE: Don't miss our next #compassionate #mentalhealth Gathering on October 4th, 5th 2017. More deets comi… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

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Peer Support & Advice in a no-pressure Support Group (Llandrindod Wells)

Executive Committee

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Ponthafren, Welshpool

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Mid Powys Mind, Llandrindod Wells

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Ponthafren, Newtown

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Mid Powys Mind, Llandrindod Wells

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THRIVE Approach to Mental Wellbeing Course (6 weeks)

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Brecon & District Mind Event

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Tuesday 13 June 2017

Brecon & District Mind

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Tuesday 13 June 2017

Ponthafren, Welshpool

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Tuesday 13 June 2017

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Wednesday 14 June 2017

Llanidloes

Talk by CAB (giving advice on a new service via Skype)

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Mid Powys Mind, Llandrindod Wells

Coffee Morning

Wednesday 14 June 2017

My Memories Dementia Carers Support Group, Newtown

Conflict Resolution Training

Thursday 15 June 2017

Ponthafren, Newtown

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training – ASIST Awareness

Thursday 15 June 2017

Llandrindod Wells (2 days)

Tea at Tesco

Thursday 15 June 2017

Mid Powys Mind, Llandrindod Wells

Storytelling for Health Conference (2 days)

Friday 16 June 2017

Arts in Health, Wales

Anxiety Cafe (Hay-on-Wye)

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Brecon & District Mind

Personality Disorders Training

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Llandrindod Wells

Music Group

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Dementia Friendly, Newtown

Mental Health Awareness Training (half day)

Thursday 22 June 2017

Newtown

Reiki Session

Thursday 22 June 2017

Mid Powys Mind, Llandrindod Wells

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Saturday 24 June 2017

My Memories Dementia Carers Support Group, Newtown

Anxiety Cafe (Brecon)

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Brecon & District Mind

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Tuesday 27 June 2017

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Asylum: Action and Reaction conference

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My Memories Dementia Carers Support Group, Newtown

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Brecon

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Mid Powys Mind

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Powys Teaching Health Board, Brecon

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Powys Community Health Council

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Full Council Meeting

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Powys Community Health Council

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Powys Teaching Health Board, Brecon

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Powys Teaching Health Board, Brecon

Full Council Meeting

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Powys Community Health Council

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Powys Community Health Council

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Radnorshire & Brecknock Local Committee

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Executive Committee

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Powys Community Health Council

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Powys Community Health Council

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Llandrindod Wells
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