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Dealing with Stigma... a personal account OVERARCHING PRINCIPLES We are all human beings. We share a common humanity. All human beings are vulnerable.

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Presentation on theme: "Dealing with Stigma... a personal account OVERARCHING PRINCIPLES We are all human beings. We share a common humanity. All human beings are vulnerable."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dealing with Stigma... a personal account OVERARCHING PRINCIPLES We are all human beings. We share a common humanity. All human beings are vulnerable. It is important to accept each other’s vulnerability, and our own. If as individuals and as communities, we all learn to accept and share our vulnerability as human beings we will begin to tackle stigma in all its forms. OVERARCHING PRINCIPLES We are all human beings. We share a common humanity. All human beings are vulnerable. It is important to accept each other’s vulnerability, and our own. If as individuals and as communities, we all learn to accept and share our vulnerability as human beings we will begin to tackle stigma in all its forms. WHAT HAPPENED TO ME? As a child I was emotionally and sexually abused As an adult………………………………………… I had a breakdown I suffered depression and panic attacks I experienced anxiety and dissociation I battled suicide My mental health issues were a direct result of my childhood abuse. I experienced a double stigma …………… as a child abuse survivor as a mental health consumer WHAT HAPPENED TO ME? As a child I was emotionally and sexually abused As an adult………………………………………… I had a breakdown I suffered depression and panic attacks I experienced anxiety and dissociation I battled suicide My mental health issues were a direct result of my childhood abuse. I experienced a double stigma …………… as a child abuse survivor as a mental health consumer WHAT HELPED ME? Finding a therapist who validated my experience, who bore witness to what had happened to me, who I learnt to trust, who gave me unconditional support, who listened empathically Having a family of my own with whom I could maintain a connection, a family who loved me and who I loved in return Having close friends who could ‘walk alongside me’, not necessarily knowing what to do or say, just being there Meeting other survivors and mental health consumers, sharing experiences and connecting with them Learning to trust and connect with people who were supportive, seeing the people who were there for me Reaching out for help and accepting it Letting go of self-blame, guilt and shame Believing in myself and my own strengths Developing deeper, richer relationships Speaking out about my abuse and my experiences. Being heard. Being supported Reading other people’s stories, understanding more Writing about my experiences Publishing a book about my recovery, to give hope and help to others Advocating for other child abuse survivors and mental health consumers WHAT HELPED ME? Finding a therapist who validated my experience, who bore witness to what had happened to me, who I learnt to trust, who gave me unconditional support, who listened empathically Having a family of my own with whom I could maintain a connection, a family who loved me and who I loved in return Having close friends who could ‘walk alongside me’, not necessarily knowing what to do or say, just being there Meeting other survivors and mental health consumers, sharing experiences and connecting with them Learning to trust and connect with people who were supportive, seeing the people who were there for me Reaching out for help and accepting it Letting go of self-blame, guilt and shame Believing in myself and my own strengths Developing deeper, richer relationships Speaking out about my abuse and my experiences. Being heard. Being supported Reading other people’s stories, understanding more Writing about my experiences Publishing a book about my recovery, to give hope and help to others Advocating for other child abuse survivors and mental health consumers FROM FELLOW DOCTORS  When I had a breakdown I was forced to give up work as a GP  I was very needy and unwell. My medical colleagues rejected me  They were not interested in me because I was now a ‘mental patient’  I was no longer a doctor – my status had changed  I was no longer who they were used to and who they wanted me to be  When I revealed my child abuse history, they were not interested.  They were neither supportive nor empathic  I felt alienated and alone FROM FELLOW DOCTORS  When I had a breakdown I was forced to give up work as a GP  I was very needy and unwell. My medical colleagues rejected me  They were not interested in me because I was now a ‘mental patient’  I was no longer a doctor – my status had changed  I was no longer who they were used to and who they wanted me to be  When I revealed my child abuse history, they were not interested.  They were neither supportive nor empathic  I felt alienated and alone FROM FRIENDS People were scared by the change in me They labelled me. I was sick and it was a mental illness. Physical illnesses are not as frightening to others They didn’t know what to expect; they didn’t know what to say I withdrew from them and few of them reached out to me I grew more isolated which worsened my depression FROM FRIENDS People were scared by the change in me They labelled me. I was sick and it was a mental illness. Physical illnesses are not as frightening to others They didn’t know what to expect; they didn’t know what to say I withdrew from them and few of them reached out to me I grew more isolated which worsened my depression FROM MY FAMILY OF ORIGIN My family of origin denied my childhood trauma They negated my experiences, invalidated my responses My mother called my suicidal ideas ‘reckless’ I was lumped together with my father who had a psychiatric label and told I had his genes They abandoned me all over again FROM MY FAMILY OF ORIGIN My family of origin denied my childhood trauma They negated my experiences, invalidated my responses My mother called my suicidal ideas ‘reckless’ I was lumped together with my father who had a psychiatric label and told I had his genes They abandoned me all over again FROM THE COMMUNITY Fear and ignorance breed stigma and taboo Discrimination breeds judgment and intolerance Silence and secrecy perpetuate FROM THE COMMUNITY Fear and ignorance breed stigma and taboo Discrimination breeds judgment and intolerance Silence and secrecy perpetuate WHO DID THE STIGMA COME FROM? TACKLING STIGMA 1.Stigma arises from ignorance 2.It is perpetuated by fear 3.Education and information helps reduce ignorance 4.Less ignorance means less judgement and greater tolerance 5.Greater tolerance leads to better understanding and greater acceptance 6.Understanding and acceptance help reduce fear 7.With education and greater awareness ignorance and fear can be eroded 8.Stigma and taboo can be challenged and gradually overcome TACKLING STIGMA 1.Stigma arises from ignorance 2.It is perpetuated by fear 3.Education and information helps reduce ignorance 4.Less ignorance means less judgement and greater tolerance 5.Greater tolerance leads to better understanding and greater acceptance 6.Understanding and acceptance help reduce fear 7.With education and greater awareness ignorance and fear can be eroded 8.Stigma and taboo can be challenged and gradually overcome STEPS TOWARDS OVERCOMING STIGMA More public education and information about child abuse and mental health Programs to promote mental health within the community Training around the effects of child abuse for workers and professionals Training around mental health issues for workers and professionals Services and programs which listen to, understand and empower consumers Campaigns to reduce the stigma of child abuse and mental health issues Programs which encourage people to seek care and support More people telling their story, including high profile people Mental health consumers sharing their experiences and skills with others Advocacy and awareness campaigns Exposing discrimination and prejudice Stories of recovery, overcoming adversity and living well Programs for family, friends and carers Educating the media around childhood trauma and mental health STEPS TOWARDS OVERCOMING STIGMA More public education and information about child abuse and mental health Programs to promote mental health within the community Training around the effects of child abuse for workers and professionals Training around mental health issues for workers and professionals Services and programs which listen to, understand and empower consumers Campaigns to reduce the stigma of child abuse and mental health issues Programs which encourage people to seek care and support More people telling their story, including high profile people Mental health consumers sharing their experiences and skills with others Advocacy and awareness campaigns Exposing discrimination and prejudice Stories of recovery, overcoming adversity and living well Programs for family, friends and carers Educating the media around childhood trauma and mental health WHO AM I? I am a wife I am a mother I am a doctor I am a survivor of child abuse I am a mental health consumer I am an advocate WHO AM I? I am a wife I am a mother I am a doctor I am a survivor of child abuse I am a mental health consumer I am an advocate


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