Every family has a secret. An ingredient for the perfect bolognaise. A guilty love of Star Trek. A wardrobe with an entrance to Narnia. Occasionally, the secret is a fellow family member. Someone who’s only spoken about in hushed tones.
‘Uncle Phil? Oh dear, yes, tragic… *whispers* Arrested for stealing a vacuum cleaner.’
All too often, the source of the embarrassment is a mental health problem.
‘That’s right, he had a breakdown. Went completely cuckoo. His poor wife must be so embarrassed’
Such attitudes make me deeply upset. Not just because they’re entirely undeserved, but because they both cause and perpetuate suffering. Shame, for those who already feel wrongly ashamed. Isolation for those who already feel lonely. And barriers for those who already feel trapped.
So I hope we’re all agreed. Stigma is bad. Down with stigma! *Waves poms poms*
But sadly not all stigma is as easy to recognise as the bigoted words of a few…
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