I commit to the Blog For Mental Health 2013 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase discrimination.
I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while, but hadn’t ever quite got around to it. At latest count, there’s over 60 bloggers on the blogroll of this important project.
I’ve changed a word in the ‘pledge’ that I’ve copied here: the last word of my pledge is not ‘stigma’, it’s ‘discrimination.’ I’ve been thinking about this a lot, following a twitter conversation started by @stfumisogynists about a month ago.
I believe that the use of the word ‘stigma’ rather than the term ‘discrimination’ may actually serve to perpetuate discrimination. Stigma is essentially an individualising word. It makes it about our problems as individuals with mental health problems and places the burden of responsibility on us as individuals to “come out” and challenge stigma. I’d rather talk about the discrimination that we face on the basis of our mental health status, that has nothing to do with us as individuals and everything to do with the society and culture that we live in.
Choosing to approach this through the lens of discrimination shifts the focus from us as individuals and places responsibility squarely back on the shoulders of those it belongs to: individual people, institutions and cultures that discriminate against us.
Here’s to blogging for mental health in 2013.
[An update: there’s another bit to this thing, where you’re supposed to write a bio of your mental health and ‘pledge’ other people. I’m reluctant to write a bio of my mental health, because my mental health is not me and it doesn’t deserve it’s own bio. I’m lots of things: a feminist, a writer, a cyclist, a researcher, a music lover, a beer drinker, a traveller, a tourist, an atheist, an immigrant, an activist, a cook etc etc. My mental health is part of me, but it’s not me. Secondly, I’m not a fan of the word ‘pledge’ either, but that’s a story for another day. If I have to recommend someone, I’ll go with Zedkat by the fab @stfumisogynists. Click that link, it will make you laugh.]