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Liz Sayce speaks at Royal College of Psychiatrists

18 October 2013

Liz Sayce argues anti-stigma work in mental health needs to be rooted in our rights.

Liz, speaking at the Royal College of Psychiatrists annual conference in Manchester, held on Friday 11 October, argued against anti-stigma messages that describe mental health problems as ‘an illness like any other’. A growing body of research shows that the idea of an illness of the brain makes the public more – not less – likely to think those of us affected are dangerous and unpredictable. As a result they want to keep their distance.  Instead we need to focus on Contact (working, learning and living together – on equal terms), Contribution (enabling people with mental health problems to contribute across society) and Power (the power to make change happen).

The leading international expert on stigma and mental health – Bruce Link – says ‘stigma is entirely dependent on social, political and economic power’. We need to mobilise power to counter stigma and discrimination. And to do that we need to assert and strengthen our rights – to dignity, to work, to family life and more.

You can view a PowerPoint of Liz’s speech.