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Johannes Parkkonen Senior Campaign Development Officer 29 May 2008. Why to tackle stigma and discrimination Who is ‘see me’ Early years of the campaign Where are we now Personality disorders and stigma What can we all do to challenge stigma and discrimination. Outline.

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Johannes Parkkonen

Senior Campaign Development Officer

29 May 2008

Why to tackle stigma and discrimination

Who is ‘see me’

Early years of the campaign

Where are we now

Personality disorders and stigma

What can we all do to challenge stigma and discrimination



Why Challenge Stigma and Discrimination?

David Dempster, EasterhouseWhen I was off work with a broken leg I got loads of support from the fire brigade. Crew were always dropping by, so much so there was almost always a fire engine outside the house! When I went off sick with depression there was nothing. Not one card, call or visit. I had to prove I was ill by undergoing two additional medicals. Then, when I was well again, the fire service didn’t want me back... in any capacity. Twenty years of service and expertise written off! ...It’s time for every one of us to help create a climate in which we can all talk openly about mental health problems, get help when we need it and get rid of the negative attitudes which belong in the past.

“I would love to go out more places such as the local pub and library but I am too frightened to in case I am dangerous. I have never been dangerous but you read about schizophrenics being dangerous all the time in the paper, so I thought that because I have schizophrenia that I would be dangerous if I went out”

Danny, Ayr

Formed in 2002 by an alliance of five mental health organisations

Run by a management group of alliance members

Fully funded by the Scottish Government since 2002

Key aim is to eliminate the stigma and discrimination of mental ill-health

Target audience is the Scottish general public

Integrated communications agency

Eight staff – based in Edinburgh

High profile national identity and a flexible resource for local action

‘see me….’


Taking time to get it right

Involvement of those with mental health problems and carers

Starting from where the public IS – rather than where we think they are

Using the ‘first person voice’ as the focus of our campaign

Not admonishing the public – showing negative impact of stigma and ways forward for positive support

‘see me….’

where are we now
Where are we now?
  • Increased awareness and understanding of MHPs
  • People more confident to talk about mental health problems
  • 1 in 4 message understood also “it could happen to anyone”
  • Recognition that most people recover
  • Decrease in negative reporting
  • Evidence that attitudes are changing
Have you told anyone about your mental health problem, apart from your doctor or any other health professionals?

Source: PAS 2006


Situation where stigma experienced

Source: A fairer future 2007


The Challenge

Attitude Change

Behaviour Change


Speed of success dependent on audience and

complexity of mental health issues

‘see me’s model of societal change


personality disorder and stigma
Personality Disorder and Stigma
  • Need to build more comprehensive knowledge base
  • Hear Me! Survey in 2006 indicated that stigma is particularly high for PD:
    • Highest stigma experience – 94% (81% average)
    • 70% experienced stigma among friends/family (53%)
    • 58% in employment (46%)
    • 43% in local community (24%) – schizophrenia was higher at 48%
    • 51% in mental health/other health services (24%)
    • 89% self-stigma or situation avoiding (82%)
    • Lowest % who thought situation got better; highest % who thought it got worse compared to 2002
why the high stigma
Why the high stigma?

Several possibilities:

People with PD may also experience other MHP; more likely to experience stigma

Social isolation/rejection due to alterations in behaviour/offensive traits that accompany some PDs

Experience in health service hampered by poor diagnostic criteria; resulting in prejudice

Poor & insensitive media reporting on more complex MHP (e.g. “Killer-soldier jury is told of ‘disorder’”, P&J, 14/3/07)

The above, and general lack of awareness, creating fear of unknown?

“Lost” personality = non-capacity to control one’s actions?


What can YOU do?

  • Sign the ‘see me’ Pledge
  • Display campaign materials & take the message out to wider community
  • Become a Media Volunteer
  • Stigma Stop Watch – Challenge individual incidents of stigma in the media/popular culture
  • Join the campaign activity and discussions on the website
  • Use the ‘see me’ toolkit (available later in 2008)
  • Keep us informed of activities & research
“The man sitting next to me on the train made me nervous because he was looking at his reflection in the window and talking to himself. But he turned round to me and said that it was OK because he had schizophrenia and was just talking to the voices he could hear. I felt fine after that.” Louise, Markinch (age 15)
thank you
Thank You!

'see me' - Let's stop the stigma of mental ill-health

9-13 Maritime Street



Telephone: 0131 624 8945


Web: &

'see me' is run by an Alliance of five mental health organisations and is fully funded by the Scottish Government's National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Well-being.