Tackling stigma takes a collective voice to create a lasting, positive change in people’s attitudes towards mental health and better inform people on the facts.
What can you do to tackle stigma?
By lending your voice to the Change Your Mind campaign you will be helping to work towards our vision of a society where people with mental health problems are treated with equality, dignity and respect by all and feel confident to speak out and seek help.
Change Minds in 5 Steps:
- Get informed about the facts around mental health & stigma (link to further information)
- Get positive conversations started about mental health with friends, family, colleagues (see Time To Talk section below)
- Learn how to recognise stigma and challenge it when you see it (link to how to recognise stigma).
- Take a critical eye to the way mental health is presented in the media or in conversations you might witness– does it portray people fairly and respectfully or does it resort to stereotypes?
- See the person not the illness: Put yourself in the shoes of someone who is experiencing stigma; it’s important not to define or judge someone by their health problem but see the individual for who they are.
- Get involved with the Change Your Mind campaign to add your voice to those who are already changing minds about mental health (link to ‘Get Involved; section)
It’s Time To Talk
1 in 4 of us will be affected by mental health problems in any one year, so being able to talk about it is something that’s important to all of us. Having those conversations is the first step in breaking down stigma and gaining a better understanding of mental health.
Whether its fear, embarrassment or lack of knowledge that stops you from talking about mental health, avoiding the subject isn’t good for anyone and only allows stigma to continue.
By talking about mental health we can break down stereotypes, strengthen friendships, aid recovery and take the taboo out of something that affects us all.
You don’t need to be an expert to talk about mental health; here are a few tips to get you started….
Take it one step at a time:
- Mental health is a big topic and it can be daunting to know where to begin. Simply being there for someone means a lot and keeping in touch by meeting up, phone or text is a great support.
Be open minded:
- One person’s experience of mental health won’t be the same as another’s. Listen to their experience and let them know you’re there for them.
Don't just talk about mental health:
- Mental health is just one part of a person and people don’t want to be defined by it. Make sure you continue to talk about the things you’ve always talked about.
Courage is contagious:
- Don’t be surprised if your honesty encourages other people to talk about their own experiences. Often, once mental health is out in the open, people want to talk.