Challenging stigma

Mind in Barnet is determined to challenge the stigma which is so often attached to mental health problems, and to people with mental health problems.  We do this in four main ways:

Acting as an exemplar

Many of our staff have personal experience of mental health problems.  We encourage people with personal experience of mental distress, and experience of using mental health services, to apply for vacancies within the organisation.  We encourage service users to work as paid staff and as volunteers.  We challenge stigmatisation of service users, and we aim to work with service users at all levels in the organisation.  Not only do we work in partnership with our service users to develop individual recovery plans with them, but we aim to involve service users in the design, delivery and monitoring of services within the borough.

Spreading the word about mental health and challenging stereotypes

We produce a range of publications informing people about mental health problems and challenging stereotypes, and provide a range of publications to help people understand mental distress, many in conjunction with National Mind.  We also run Mental Health First Aid courses, designed to give the general public a greater understanding of mental health problems, and to challenge stigma.

Encouraging our service users to use non-specialist services and access community services and facilities

Many of our service users have very low self-esteem and self-confidence when they first come to us.  We provide opportunities where they can talk to staff and to each other, and we work with them to develop  a recovery plan.  As part of their engagement with us, they are offered the opportunity to access community activities as part of the Eclipse service: at first accompanied by staff and other service users (some people are also offered individual activities accompanied by volunteers).  As people become more confident, groups of service users access community activities together, and individual service users are encouraged and supported to follow their specialist interests.

Encouraging the general public to use our services

We run regular open days and events to encourage sections of the general public to visit our premises, learn more about mental health and/or participate in activities such as dance workshops and yoga which contribute to positive mental health.  We anticipate that we will be able to expand this programme once we move to our new premises, and positively welcome enquiries from community activities who are interested in a bright new space to run activities, classes or training.