Ahead of World Mental Health Day (10 October) around the theme of “Mental Health in an Unequal World”, we held a Stress Matters session brainstorm where we asked our clients how we could break mental health stigma and what they wanted to see changed in society.
This is what they said:
How can we look to reduce the stigma around mental health ourselves:
- Talking about it when it’s appropriate and to the right people.
- Share experiences where appropriate.
- Reduce the comedy element when sharing about your own experiences.
- Watch your language e.g avoid using terms like “nuts”, “crazy” about yourself.
- COVID has helped us to begin the conversation around mental health
- Don’t be ashamed about your illness /diagnosis
- Become educated around mental health issues
- Where necessary report discrimination to employers
- Don’t over compare yourself to others
- Look to gain support from others
What would we like to see happen more in the world to normalise mental illness:
- Talk about it in society as if it’s the same as anything else e.g a mental health issue should be no more embarrassing to talk about than a broken wrist.
- Films and TV programmes need to change and stop portraying people with mental health issues as “bad and dangerous”.
- Schools need to educate pupils more sensibly and realistically.
- Better education on specific illnesses e.g paranoia.
- More understanding and flexibility by employers to be inclusive.
- Education around perceived threats around mental health issues.
- Choose language and terminology carefully – avoiding terms like mental illness and using mental or emotional health instead.
- Recovery stories of real people taken into schools and colleges.
- Celebrities talking about their recoveries.
- Mental health buildings to be more welcoming.
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