26 October 2015

Community Access Support Service event promotes positive discussions on challenging stigma

CASS team holds event at Wellspring Healthy Living Centre to discuss the effects of mental health stigma

CASS anti-stigma

As part of the many and varied events coinciding with World Mental Health Awareness Day on the 10th October, the CASS team ran a short workshop on Tuesday 13th October focused on mental health stigma. The workshop contained presentations and information about the way in which stigma is perpetuated through the media as well as everyday language and actions.

The event (facilitated by CASS networkers Anna Balcerek and Agata Palmer) was attended by representatives from several mental health organisations in Bristol, including Rethink and Womankind. Some of the discussions generated during the workshop included perceptions of 'mental health' as opposed to 'physical health', depictions of mental illness in the news media and information on the various ways stigma is perpetuated socially and culturally.

Attendees also participated in conversations about how inaccuracy about mental health in the media can contribute to harmful stereotypes. Ideas were also raised about things that people can do as individuals to combat stigma in everyday life.

Feedback from the session was positive, with attendees commenting that they had enjoyed taking part in the activities and felt "motivated to take action." The majority of attendees reported that their knowledge of mental health stigma had improved at the end of the session.

The Community Access Support Service works with community, equality and faith groups to improve access to mental health support in Bristol. An important part of improving access to support for communities in Bristol is challenging stigma and this initial workshop by the CASS team is hoped to be a good start.

Elaine Flint, CEO of Wellspring Healthy Living Centre, commented: "I found the workshop really stimulating - it highlighted the importance of taking personal responsibility for challenging mental health stigma. It's also really important for organisations to think about how we create workplaces that support mental health and wellbeing."

For more information about CASS, please contact 0117 9119832 or email info@cassbristol.org

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