The Viewpoint Survey.

After a couple of quite negative postings, I thought I would attempt to portray a more positive side of mental health by saying what is actually being done to combat the stigma surrounding it. The Viewpoint Survey is currently being carried out by the national mental health charity, Rethink, and The Institute of Psychiatry at King's College, London. It is asking mental health service users about how they are treated by others, with interviews being carried out over the telephone. The questions being asked cover a variety of topics, including how people have been treated in different areas of their lives, whether they have changed their behaviour because of their mental health diagnosis, whether they have educated people about, or challenged stigmatising views, and whether they have access to sources of practical help.
I learnt about the survey because I was randomly chosen to take part. The interview I took part in lasted around 30 minutes and covered all the above issues. The researchers are interested only in how you may have been treated over the last twelve months. I was told this is so they can assess, on a year to year basis, if the stigma "situation" is getting better or worse, and in what areas people are most affected. I would urge anyone who has been randomly chosen to take part, as the resulting research will be used to try to prevent unfair treatment in the future.
It also appears that my favourite anti-stigma guru is involved in the research. Yes, it's Professor Graham Thornicroft, author of the book, "Shunned", and much quoted by me in this blog. Also, the NHS themselves are involved, so hopefully the research done will have a pragmatic influence on how stigma is handled by mental health services.
So, together with the national "Time to Change" campaign, and also our own local efforts at The Media Action Group for Mental Health, this survey may go some way to, if not entirely eradicate, then erode, the problem of stigma.


Yes, this is a very optimistic post, David. Hopefully, with these surveys, understanding and acceptance is on the horizon for those who are compartmentalized by their conditions. I think there would be much gained by asking/answering those questions. The results would have to hold great promise.

Very positive thoughts here, David. A pleasure visiting you!

David said…
Dear M.,
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment.
As you say, perhaps as some in very senior positins are taking the problem of stigma seriously, "understanding and acceptance of those who are compartmentalized by their conditions" may, one day, become a reality.
Wishing you All the Very Best,
klahanie said…
Dear David,
An encouraging article and an excellent comment by 'M'.
I rather hope that I get to take that survey. Over all, as I have alluded too in the past, I believe that the stigmas and stereotypes, are being slowly eradicated. This has been indicated to me by the refreshing interaction I have had with several people who have not experienced mental health issues, but what to learn more about it.
And David, I thought that I was your favourite anti-stigma 'guru'. You know, 'Gary the Guru'.
Oh well.
With very positive wishes, your way, Gary the....
David said…
Dear Gary,
THank you for your thoughts. And yes, I too have noticed that things seem to be getting gradually better, although there is obviously still room for improvement.
I hope you get to take part in the survey- people included are just chosen at random.
And Gary, although I would say that Prof Thornicroft is my favourite anti-stigma guru, you still remain my favourite hairy friend!
With Very Best Wishes,
P.S. Will be in touch soon.

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