What is Stigma
Stigma is when someone sees you in a negative way because of a particular characteristic or attribute (such as skin colour, cultural background, a disability, or a mental illness). When someone treats you in a negative way because of your mental illness, this is discrimination.
Stigma happens when a person defines someone by their illness rather than who they are as an individual. For example, they might be labelled ‘psychotic’ rather than ‘a person experiencing psychosis.’
For people with mental health issues, the social stigma and discrimination they experience can make their problems worse, making it harder to recover. It may cause the person to avoid getting the help they need because of the fear of being stigmatised.
Stigma and Employee Mental Health
Stigma can lead to a lack of support or empathy for people with a mental illness, leaving people embarrassed, misunderstood, and marginalised.
Stigma can cause more than hurt feelings. It can result in symptoms being ignored, lead to poor recovery and a lower quality of life due to isolation.
Sometimes mental illness is given a stigma that tries to label people affected as ‘scary’, ‘comical’ or ‘incompetent’. If you’re living with a mental illness, stigma is one more stress you don’t need. In fact, some people say that the effects of stigma and prejudice can be as distressing as the symptoms of their illness
Stigma in the Workplace
Stigma in the workplace regarding mental illness looks like this.
The person with the mental illness is dangerous, they’re less of a person, not normal, you know odd.
They’re quick to give up and god they’re so emotional, flakey and undecisive, you can never rely on them because of their illness.
They’re always getting special treatment; you must walk on eggshells around them all the time and they get away with doing less work than everyone else because they’re mentally ill.
‘When a person is labelled by their illness they are no longer seen as the person they are, but as part of a stereotyped group.’
The workshop will help you.
National Workplace Program
Mental Health Education and Awareness for Employees
World Health Organisation
Mental health in the workplace - Information sheet
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