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  1. #1

    The Stigma of Mental Illness: How can you help?

    What can you do to help?
    (From World Health Organization Web site: Denied Citizens)

    Mental health issues fall between the cracks in everyone's agenda. Each organization needs to explicitly include people with mental disorders as part of their program. They can increase their impact by working together with WHO through the Mental Health Policy Project.

    Policy makers

    * Improve and increase the financial and human resources allocated to mental health.
    * Be familiar with international and national human rights standards and norms related to people with mental disorders.
    * Ensure that policies in the education, labour, criminal justice and general health care system all act to promote mental health and protect human rights.
    * Include coverage for mental health care in both public and private insurance schemes.
    * Implement mental health policies and laws that promote human rights, deinstitutionalization, integration into general health care and development of community care.
    * Set up monitoring mechanisms to ensure that human rights are being respected in all mental health facilities.

    Health care workers

    * Respect the dignity, protect the rights, and promote the autonomy and liberty of people with mental disorders.
    * Ensure that informed consent of people with mental disorders is the basis for all treatment provided.
    * Involve people with mental disorders in the development of their treatment plan.
    * Involve families in the treatment and care of their relatives with mental disorders.
    * Inform decision makers what resources and other support is needed in order to provide good quality mental health care.

    People with mental disorders

    * Denounce human rights violations including outdated and inhuman forms of treatment, poor service delivery, inaccessible care and abusive use of involuntary admission and treatment.
    * Advocate for your participation in the development and implementation of policies and laws to improve human rights and mental health services.
    * Be familiar with your human rights under international human rights law and national laws.
    * Join forces with other people with mental disorders in order to support each other and carry out activities to change attitudes towards people with mental disorders and combat stigma and discrimination.

    User groups, family groups, advocacy organizations and other non-governmental organizations

    * Sensitize and educate the public about mental health and mental disorders, and raise awareness of the rights of people with mental disorders.
    * Advocate for the provision of good quality mental health services in primary health care, general hospital settings and in the community.
    * Advocate for your participation in the development and implementation of policies and laws to improve human rights and services for people with mental disorders.
    * Organize informal community mental health services such as counseling, self-help groups both for individuals with mental disorders and for families, drop-in centres, community re-integration programmes, case management, outreach programmes and crisis services.
    * Provide preventive and promotive services, such as school-based mental health promotion programmes.
    * Collaborate with other non-governmental organizations that share similar goals within the country, region and world.

    Foundations

    * Support the development and implementation of country mental health policies, plans and laws that promote and protect human rights.
    * Support the development of mental health services in primary health care, general hospitals and in the community.
    * Support the creation and activities of mental health service user, family and advocacy organizations.
    * Support research to evaluate the impact of mental health policies and laws.
    * Support research to develop effective mental health interventions in primary care, general health and community facilities.
    * Provide policy and health systems training for mental health policy makers and planners.
    * Provide appropriate mental health training for primary health care and community workers.
    * Incorporate training on mental health and human rights issues into undergraduate and postgraduate curricula for health and mental health professionals, including those in primary care.
    * Conduct research into mental health policy and service planning, including evaluation of policy implementation, and models of service organization and planning.
    * Conduct research on effective mental health interventions at primary care and in community facilities.
    * Provide up-to-date undergraduate and postgraduate curricula based on evidence-based approaches, in keeping with policy priorities.
    * Provide specialist supervision for both the delivery and planning of mental health services through primary care and community care.

    Professional organizations

    * Contribute to the debate on policy and legislation development.
    * Set quality standards for mental health workers at all levels – hospitals, primary health care, and community settings.
    * Raise awareness of constituencies on mental health and human rights issues.
    * Provide accreditation for mental health professionals.
    * Support the change of roles among primary health care staff from working predominantly with physical disorders to a more holistic approach to health care that incorporates physical and mental health.
    * Support the change of roles among mental health staff from working in predominantly institutional settings to predominantly community-based settings.

    The media

    * Avoid stereotyping, sensationalism and perpetuating myths and misconceptions when reporting on mental health issues.
    * Present mental health issues with compassion, highlighting what can be achieved with adequate financial and human resources.
    * Highlight the human rights of people with mental disorders.

  2. #2

    The Stigma of Mental Illness

    Excellent! I have an appointment with one of my state legislators. I look forward to starting the ball rolling in terms of proper treatment for those who experience mental health issues.

  3. #3

    The Stigma of Mental Illness

    thanks Lana. you should split and make that a seperate post or post it again in its own thread so it's easier for everyone else to see. it's really good!

  4. #4

    Re: The Stigma of Mental Illness

    Educating people is the way to go. :icon_study: A lot of companies have wellness programs. If somehow, information about mental illness gets integrated into those programs, that might help. Also incorporating mental illness into the school curiculum (ie. biology, physical education, social studies, etc.) would reach the younger people.

    Mental illness affects more than our 'brain' (so to speak), which is part of our body, and yet, the stigma that goes with the sickness of the 'brain' is so much worse - the number of myths that exists - It boggles my mind. Our physical body includes the brain, doesn't it? Why is it 'ok' to be sick in the body, but not the mind? Does that make sense?


  5. #5

    Re: The Stigma of Mental Illness

    I think we have trouble knowing what to say to people who are gravely ill. I've had loads of training in the subject and still, sometimes, find myself at a loss for the proper words. Sometimes, all I can do is to hold someone's hand and cry with them, or pray with them, or grieve with them. Words are, at times, inadequate.

    I think we're also afraid we might say the wrong thing, or say something in the wrong way. Most people don't want to hurt another, so they shy away from the possibility that they could cause more anguish. It doesn't occur to them that, in doing so, they're isolating that person. They're just trying to be kind. It's sad, really.

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