I’m Going To Stop Saying “Stigma”
Or I’m going to try to.
During my last Madvocates meeting we had a discussion about stigma. The mental health field has grabbed stigma and is milking it for everything it’s worth! During our discussion Jennifer mentioned that the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) believes we need to stop using stigma and call it what it is-discrimination!
I would have to agree.
OHRC says that to use the term “stigma” to describe why people with mental health issues are treated poorly is neoliberal. Stigma may in fact be watering down the severity of the problem.
Stigma says that there is a victim but no perpetrator or I believe it creates a very vague perpetrator that seems a little out of our reach. To me, stigma has always meant “society” or something very abstract and floaty. Stigma was always perched on a cloud.
Discrimination on the other hand is the massive boulder that smashes into you. Discrimination has a victim, has a perpetrator and most importantly is ILLEGAL!
We are discriminated against. Individuals are impeding on our human rights to employment, housing, education, safety and more. THIS IS ILLEGAL!!!!
We need to hold people and organizations responsible for their thoughts and actions but using stigma seems to have the ability to absolve one of their crimes towards those with mental health issues. It’s a very tame term. Discrimination has the weight we need to make head way.
It is discrimination when I am made fun of for having mental health issues.
It is discrimination when I was told I could not be a successful social worker because of mental health issues.
It is discrimination when I’m told I cannot be hired at a mental health agency because they believe I will take advantage of their services.
It is discrimination when I’m asked for a mental health check by an employer who can deny me a job based on the results.
It is discrimination when I am not accommodated at work or school.
It is discrimination when my thoughts and feelings are not seen as valid because I have a mental health issue.
We are experiencing discrimination.
Canadian Human Rights and Mental Health Initiatives
Posted on June 17, 2012, in Madness, Mental Health, Stigma/Discrimination and tagged discrimination, human rights, illegal, mental health, mental illness, Ontario Human Rights Commission, stigma. Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.