Teaching the Professionals: Stigma to Compassion

Recently, I came across an article on Community Care UK about mental health stigma.  On a more closer reading of this article, I realized it discussed the rampant stigma and discrimination of the National Health Service, the national health care provider which is funded by the government.  This is appalling that citizens who suffer from mental illness are often mistreated by the institution that is supposed to provide them help when they need it the most.  Laura, one patient who was interviewed, mentioned that one of the councilors snapped at her. The person called her a “pathetic little girl” and told her that she needs to accept she will never get better.  Laura was then reluctant to reach out to additional services because of the verbal abuse she received from her councilor.

Thankfully, there is a group called “Time to Change” that is working to make a difference by exercising compassion.  They realize that there is something wrong with mental health stigma being a part of a national institution whose purpose is to help, not harm.  Their goal is to increase compassion in federal health workers to better understand and empathize with those who suffer.  Importantly though, they are not going around “finger pointing” at people, but instead increasing discussion among workers to make them realize that we’re all alike.  In addition, they are creating a culture of openness so that workers and patients do not have to feel scared bringing up their concerns to better the system.  With these important changes, people like Laura were able to receive help and recover.

-Written by Clark

To the article, go here: Prejudice from the Professionals

For info about Time to Change go here: Time to Change

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