Stigma – Is this now a cliché?

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.

About the author
Bob Brotchie

Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, life coach and creator of Conscious Living by Design™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.

Bob provides bespoke counselling services to clients in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).

2 Comments

  1. Tim

    I used to be an employer on the Slough Trading Estate. I considered only the skills a person had, or the skills they promised me they would acquire if I employed them. I took form the dole queue rather than employing those currently employed where I could justify it, which was often. I asked them to put some skin in the game: three months are poor salary, at the end of which they would have proved their worth and be given a substantial pay rise, or would go. No-one let me down because they would have let themselves down and the rest of us down. One chap I sponsored through university after he proved he could acquire the new skills in the three months

    Would I have employed the chap in the video? If he had impressed me at interview, yes, otherwise no. But I looked as deep into folk as I could to see if they had a spark somewhere inside. I think I might have found his, if he had been ready to show it to me.

    Maybe I was an unusual boss, but my ability to pay my mortgage was based on the people I hired. The only ones who let me down were a few of those I inherited from the previous CEO, who hired because they were nice people. Nice is good, but there must be a spark, too.

    • Wonderful insightful comments, Tim.
      I think there are others ‘out there’, but sadly you and they are in the minority. Corporate world is being cajoled into ‘positive discrimination’ but that’s hardly the same ethos you demonstrated. Work in progress, methinks!

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Stigma – Is this now a cliché?

by Bob Brotchie time to read: 1 min
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