Mental health problems are common with one in four of us in the UK experiencing mental ill health at some point in our lives.
Emergency service staff are no exception and some research suggests you experience higher levels of mental ill health than the rest of society. We’re still trying to understand this and think it may be linked to a combination of organisational stress, trauma exposure and personality factors, but we know for sure that stigma plays a big part.
There are two sides to stigma - social stigma, which is when others judge and treat us badly, and self-stigma, which is when we feel and think badly about ourselves.
Examples of social stigma are when jokes are made about people who are mentally unwell (like “feardie firies”) or when people are overlooked for promotion after disclosing a psychological injury. Examples of self-stigma are when we feel ashamed, weak, a failure or undeserving of help.
Both are a huge problem because they make accessing support and recovery harder.
Watch Ian and Laura talk about how they're dealt with stigma and remember the Lifelines Essentials:
#1 - We all have mental health and responders are not invincible
#6 - Psychological injuries can heal