Philippa Capel, Psychologist at 2gether, has helped run sessions with other professionals in her Trust. She tells us more about her experiences:
I saw the Time to Change project advertising for facilitators for sessions and recognised that feeling of being stigmatised can be very powerful and impact negatively on people’s ability to feel able and motivated to achieve some of their hopes and dreams in life. It’s a really difficult feeling to manage.
I think the project’s aim of raising the awareness that people using mental health services still feel stigmatised in those services is a very important area to consider, because of the impact of feeling stigmatised. The Time to Change mental health professionals project is only in its infancy but has already started a conversation about why people may feel stigmatised by mental health teams and how the service, and us as individuals, have a role in changing the way we work to decrease that experience of stigma.
I know that psychological distress is normal and all part of life. Acknowledging and talking about peoples experiences begins to address some of the difficulties of working in a highly pressurised environment where people experience high levels of complex distress.
I first thought the most important conversation I had about stigma from mental health professionals was talking about how a person felt when they were talked about as ‘bipolar and untreatable’. But now I’ve thought more carefully about it I think probably the most important conversation I had was over a cup of tea talking about how people feel stigmatised and flipping it around. I recognised that it’s not just an organisational challenge, it’s also a personal challenge to acknowledge our own internal discrimination, and how we subtly interact differently with different people.
I think the biggest impact it’s had is that I consider it more in every aspect of my work and try and have ongoing conversations about client experience. I was once told to treat your friends how you treat your clients and you’ll soon find out if you need to change something.