Have we lost person to person connectivity so much so that we’ve lost the ability to treat people like people?
I have so many conversations with people living with mental ill health about being treated as their diagnosis that it wasn’t a surprise that it came up in discussions on Friday in the summit. This is what keeps stigma alive, whether it’s mental health, substance abuse, grief, homeless, benefits, etc stigma seems to hang around the things we know little about, are afraid of or we hear bad stuff about.
Stigma is the way people percieve you, interact with you, treat you, what they say, language used and how feel about your status (mental ill health, substance abuse), it’s what they think they know or what they don’t know about your status, it’s a culture, it’s afraid, it’s fuelled by misconceptions, untruths and the unknown. Stigma is based on fear and ignorance, fear of the unknown, fear of getting it wrong and harming someone, fear of being labelled too and because of all of this we stop talking, communicating and treating people lile people.
People are people whether living with mental ill health, substance abuse, grief on benefits, with a physical illness.
How do we break stigma, we learn, we come together as communities, we talk, we understand, we include, we build bridges in our information, we take time to understand, be compassionate and empathetic, we treat people like people, with respect and dignity, we learn how to have difficult conversations.
We water flowers, we feed animals – lets nurture people.