Stigma is still attached to many aspects of our lives and experiences. Disabilities and mental health in particular are some of the most significant areas’ still to be overcome, although there appears to be a growing shift to overcome and educate.
A recent ‘debate’ in the UK’s House of Commons around mental health was a great opportunity seized by two MPs to share their personal experiences of illness in mental health and for more MPs to tell of exposure to others with illness. This was in one of the most ‘macho’ of settings where power has all kinds of connotations, and mental health is, or has, not certainly been one of them!
Please watch and listen to this video and reflect how you felt about the individual. His body shape and size, his mobility, his hair, his appearance overall. Would you engage him, employ him, and give ‘him’ a chance at this time?
How long will it take to create a paradigm shift in attitudes?
It is, of course, up to each and every one of us to:
- consider any negative beliefs we or others hold
- challenge ignorance in ourselves and others
- observe the language we use
- cease discrimination
- provide opportunity
‘We’ have done this before in other areas! In no particular order, as they say:
- drink driving
- discrimination against physical disability (work in progress!)
- health and safety at work
- racial equality
- sexual discrimination
Other areas of work-in-progress – or which need to be included are ageism and mental health discrimination by recruiters (in the insurance industry and finance sectors people can be judged unfairly by their current or past mental health) and I’m sure plenty more besides. More examples are Jury Service eligibility, Governorship, etc.