Staff in health and social services

Research shows that staff members within the health sector - the psychiatric sector included - do not differ from the general population when it comes to stigmatisation of people with mental illness and their relatives.

This is a very concerning finding because staff members who are in close contact with service users and their relatives are also in a position of power, as they exercise great influence on service users’ self-image. And a negative self-image can lead to self-stigmatisation.

For many people with mental illnesses and their relatives, contact with caregivers and the systems related to social care, rehabilitation services and job centres plays a major role in the prospects for social inclusion and recovery.

Everyday language use, social manners and workplace culture are all important factors in terms of stigmatisation - for both patients/service users, relatives, colleagues and work partners. The tone and the way you talk about and to patients and service users play a very important role in the beliefs of both staff and patients in relation to possibilities for recovery.

Therefore, it is crucial that in their professional efforts staff understand the importance of supporting the hope of recovery, and of expressing clearly that a diagnosis does not define a person.

To fight stigma within the healthcare and social sectors, ONE OF US carries out activities targeting staff, students and teachers who are active in these and related areas. The goal is to promote reflection on culture and language as well as challenge the stigmatizing and discriminatory attitudes towards mental illness and various groups of service users and patients.

As part of this effort, ONE OF US has created two packages of materials to challenge and promote reflection among staff members in the healthcare and social sectors about how they talk about and to people with mental illnesses.

Inequity in Health
In 2019 we launched the campaign Inequity in Health. This is a campaign that targets the people who work within health care. Experience shows that people who have both a somatic and a mental illness is discriminated in the healthcare system and among healthcare providers, compared to people who only have a somatic illness. One of the consequences of this discrimination is that people with mental illness have a substantially shorter lifespan than people without a mental illness. Prejudice, myths and a lack of knowledge about mental illness can make it difficult to rightly diagnose the patient but it can also result in either under- or overtreatment of the individual.
For more information go to Inequity in Health

The Dialogue Kickstarter
Created in cooperation with The Capital Region of Denmark and Danish Mental Health Fund, “The Dialogue Kickstarter” package can be used to reflect about the role of culture and language. Service users, relatives, leaders and staff in the psychiatric sector have helped test and refine the materials.
For more information and videos go to Dialogue Kickstarter

Start the Dialogue
Inspired by the Dialogue Kickstarter package, ONE OF US created another set of materials aimed specifically at professionals in the psychosocial rehabilitation services.
For more information and videos go to Start the Dialogue