Wednesday, 21 January 2009

What is stigma?

1. a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one's reputation.

2. a mental or physical mark that is characteristic of a defect or disease: the stigmata of leprosy.

3. Archaic. a mark made by a branding iron on the skin of a criminal or slave.

In Ancient Greece bodily signs or ‘stigmata’ were cut and burnt onto people’s bodies to mark them as different. People with mental disorders are no longer physically mutilated, but critical or derogatory attitudes can be just as damaging to them. You only have to open a newspaper, switch on the TV or go to the cinema to spot such attitudes. While the media isn’t wholly to blame for negative perceptions, every time a programme, article or film portrays a stereotype or fails to clear up a misunderstanding about a mental disorder, it helps to perpetuate the myths. From RCPSYCH

"Help kill the stigma" Adam Ant.

Adam is a keen supporter of the RCPSYCH's anti-stigma campaign and wants more famous people to talk openly about their experiences of mental health problems. Adam recently featured in a Channel 4 documentary in which he talks openly about his manic depression and being stalked. So please watch this space and support Adam in campaigning against discrimination and stigma.

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