7 October 2022

stamp out stigma logoThis World Mental Health Day Stamp Out Stigma with CNWL’s Lived Experience of Mental Health Issues Stigma Transformation Network

CNWL’s Lived Experience of Mental Health Issues and Stigma Transformation Network (LEMHIST) is launching a campaign to Stamp Out Stigma related to mental health issues and encourage staff to bring their stories to work.

In a powerful film six CNWL staff members share their experiences of stigma in the workplace to raise awareness for World Mental Health Day (10 October).

Mel Ball, Lived Experience of Mental Health Issues Stigma Transformation Staff Network (LEMHIST) Co-Chair and Head of Lived Experience Workforce at the Trust, said:

“We want to work together to reduce the stigma that exists surrounding the mental health of those working at CNWL and encourage staff to bring their full selves to work. The evidence is that stigma is worse for health professionals than it is for the broader public. We hope through this campaign that staff feel they can be open and honest about anything they face and that collectively we create a supportive culture here at CNWL.”

“Let’s celebrate our varied lived experiences of mental health and the diversity we bring to CNWL. This is just the beginning and we want more staff to come forward and make their pledge during the launch week at our virtual and face to face events.”

In the film staff describe and hold up words that describe how they have felt when facing stigma and the labels others place on them.

Dr Nick Priors, Co Chair of the Network and a doctor, said

“It has been my own experience of mental illness that gives me the motivation and passion to work as a doctor in the NHS.”

Naomi Adams, previously Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Mortimer Market Clinic for sexual health, and participant in the campaign said

“I made a very conscious decision to talk about what had happened to me. Quite a lot of people in my service said seeing me being willing to talk about it and admit to my vulnerabilities really allowed them to say when they weren’t coping”

Nick and Mel say that whilst stories of valued members of NHS staff "coming out" about their mental health experiences is key to reduce stigma, they maintain that all of us can all do more to reduce stigma for people affected by mental health issues by bringing more of ourselves and our "stories" to work in the NHS.

Mel says "Whether introducing and taking part in authentic wellbeing check ins in team spaces, talking more openly about what originally brought us to work in the NHS or speaking more regularly to your colleagues about how you are and who you are outside work, there is more all of us can do to encourage more authentic human interactions about what it means to be us in the NHS. This is a big first step we can all make to make it easier for our colleagues to both protect their mental health and find it easier to say when things aren't good for them mentally. 

“We hope the SOS Bring Your Story to Work campaign has spaces for all types of #SOSPledges so everyone can join us in the efforts to Stamp Out Stigma in CNWL, the NHS and beyond.”

CNWL’s LEMHIST Network invite staff to join the launch events from Monday 10 October and find out more about the campaign and how they can make an ‘SOS Pledge’.

On 12 October at Trust headquarters at 350 Euston Road, 13 October at Argo House and throughout the week either online via social media or by emailing SOS Pledges to communications.cnwl@nhs.net staff will be making their own local pledges to support the campaign. The campaign films and Pledge resources can be found at [external website here].

Our Executive Directors and other leaders across the organisation will be publicising their pledges on the website throughout the week, too.

We encourage staff to send their pledges in to the LEMHIST Network and share them on social media @CNWLNHS with the hashtag #MySOSPledge

The suggested Tweet template for anyone who wanted to join the conversation on social media is:

I'm going to help #StampOutStigma and bring my story to work @CNWLNHS. #MySOSPledge is to ...

CNWL’s LEMHIST Network has 200+ members but a much smaller (and growing) group of active members. The network welcome additional colleagues to come forward and join efforts to support the campaigning across the Trust.

To download the campaign resources including pledge forms, posters and films visit the SOS campaign webpage here

Watch the main film below.