PATRICIA HARDING: Campaign hopes to eliminate the stigma

Peer Support Services

  • Sep. 28, 2011 9:00 a.m.

These buttons are part of the campaign to help eliminate the stigma of mental illness.

Dealing with the stigma surrounding mental illness is the biggest obstacle that ill individuals have to deal with. It creeps into all areas of daily living. The stigma exists within the healthcare system, as well as amongst the general public. It hampers the recovery of individuals and prevents others from asking for help.

One in five Canadians will have a mental illness, an illness that is as physical as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Yet, these other physical illnesses do not carry the same kind of stigma. The worst thing is that there are many ill individuals out there who need help.

Often times someone is not diagnosed until they get in trouble with the law or have an overdose from street drugs. It should not take getting into trouble before one seeks help. The stigma keeps them away.

I know a woman who went into the hospital because of what turned out to be pancreatitis. She was admitted to the hospital and put on painkillers and antibiotics. Although she kept asking for her antidepressants, the hospital staff would not give them to her because they were not on her chart. This was not due to stigma, but what happened next definitely was. After five days of not getting her antidepressants, she became paranoid and started hearing voices. She went for a walk in the hallway and when she got to the nurses’ station she heard this lab tech say “Oh, they let the weirdo out!” It came across loud and clear. The disrespect this shows a person, no matter what the illness, is unacceptable.

All people with a mental illness ask is to be treated with respect and dignity. To be treated no different than anyone else. Just a word can have a devastating effect on a person struggling with depression. Would you call a person with diabetes or cancer a “weirdo?” Not likely. So, that is all it takes, acceptance and respect.

At the root of the stigma is fear and ignorance, so education is needed to rid society of the false beliefs about mental illness.

The Peer Support Services of the Canadian Mental Health Association is launching an anti-stigma campaign by providing buttons to supporters to initiate conversation surrounding mental illness. These conversation pieces will be available through the Peer Support Services office (3100-28th Ave). A small donation on orders of more than one button will be required to cover future production of more buttons. Otherwise the buttons will be free to those who want to show their support.

Thank you, to Five Star Awards here in Vernon for helping us with the production of the buttons.

If there are any questions, or to order buttons, please call the office at 250-542-6155.

Patricia Harding is peer support co-coordinator at Peer Support Services of the Canadian Mental Health Association in Vernon.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Campaign promotes Syilx/Okanagan language and culture

To support initiative, Nsylixcen t-shirts and water bottles are being distributed across Okanagan

WATCH: Pink cupcakes on frontline against bullying in Vernon

Organizations, schools take part to help end bullying on Pink Shirt Day

Interior Health leading the way with innovative therapy for stroke patients

Percentage of ischemic stroke patients who received treatment has risen dramatically

Beer and burgers to raise cash for Vernon man fighting cancer

Fundraiser hosted in honour of Garnet the Great to send him to special treatment centre

WATCH: Hollywood actor Chris Pratt shows Kamloops love on social media

The filming of Jurassic World 3 is underway in Merritt and area

VIDEO: Wet’suwet’en supporters vow to keep protesting at B.C. legislature

Supporters say they will continue ongoing action to hold government accountable

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Volunteers share amazing memories of Vancouver Olympic games

A decade ago this month, Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. Approximately… Continue reading

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

B.C. city rebrands with new logo, cheeky slogan

‘Langford, where it all happens’ is the City’s new slogan

Most Read