Experiencing Stigma and Discrimination in Health and Social Care
If you feel you have experienced stigma and discrimination, we have information for you.
While there are lots of amazing and compassionate people working in health and social care, unfortunately we know that sometimes people do experience stigma and discrimination when trying to get help and support.
This can happen at all levels of health and social care, in both general and psychiatric hospitals, Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) appointments and when people attend A&E or GPs. This may be down to lack of resources, education or even understanding. Sometimes people aren't trying to treat someone in a discriminatory or stigmatising way and it can happen unintentionally, but that doesn't make it any less painful for the person experiencing it.
But going to seek professional advice is a big step for many to take, so we need health and social care professionals to get it right.
If you're not sure if you have experienced stigma or discrimination, our volunteers chatted to us about their experiences of stigma and discrimination, to help others recognise how it looks.
What Can You Do?
If you find that you are experiencing stigma or discrimination here are some tips:
- Speak to another GP in the practice.
- Ask to be referred to a different professional such as a Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN).
- Challenge them.
- Speak to an advocate. You can find your local advocate on the Independent Advocacy Alliance website here .
- Ask a friend or family member to attend an appointment with you.
- Find out about your rights, how to make a complaint about discriminatory practice and get support at the NHS inform website here.
- You can make a complaint to your local health board about your experiences here.
- If your complaint is not accepted by the NHS, then you can contact the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.
Know Your Rights
Knowing your rights can be really helpful when trying to challenge stigma and discrimination. Rights for Life is a declaration of rights created by thousands of people with experience of mental health conditions in Scotland, alongside See Me, the Scottish Recovery Network and VOX.
The Declaration is for people affected by mental health issues, who can use it to help claim their rights. The people and organisations responsible for respecting, protecting and fulfilling rights in Scotland can use the Declaration to inform their policy, practices and responses to people asserting their rights.Download Rights for Life
Find out more about the what stigma and discrimination in health and social care looks like, and the impact it can have.Find out more