More and more is being written on the subject of stigma especially with the expansion of mental health awareness campaigns around the UK. These include Time to Change, See Me, and Stamp out Stigma. And, whilst the people involved in these campaigns appear to have well-meaning intentions, I believe that in some ways they are contributing to the on-going problems that lead to stigma.
This unfortunate irony, can be observed when you explore the impact of language. Words are powerful and they have an impact on the way people feel and behave. Words that describe mental health problems as being an illness like any other, tend to have a problematic effect. Instead of bringing people closer together, biological accounts of psychological suffering have been shown to increase fear and suspicion. And, of course, these are the conditions were prejudice is more likely to grow.
In a brief 5 minutes video titled The Words don’t Work, I explore the negative effects of language on fear, prejudice and the stigmatisation of psychological suffering. The aim is to show how seemingly benign words can have a negative impact on people’s felt safety. And, I present a way of moving forwards through the conversations we have with the hope that it will change how people act when they experience fear and uncertainty.
Check out this week’s Openforwards’ round-up of ideas from around the world to help you work, love, play and feel better.
The Openforwards Weekly Round-up
- The Words don’t Work. A brief video exploring the impact of language on stigma and how we can use language to create belonging.
- Who cares about the women who care? A powerful and important article written by Patricia Murphy.
- To give in or not give in Article about negotiating with your children by Rebecca Schrag Hershberg, Clinical Psychologist & Parenting Coach.
- The bizarre conception of ‘independence’. Article by Jorn Bettin that explores the many benefits of interdependence in smaller groups.
- Never Give Up. Youtube video showing Arthur’s journey to losing weight, building fitness and strength when everyone around him thought change wasn’t possible…all but one person that is!
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