On Wednesday, October 1st, MSA Mending Minds organized an Anti-Stigma booth at the downstairs atrium of the Alfaisal campus. Mental health stigma refers to negative attitude, beliefs, and stereotypes surrounding mental health and mental illness. Social perceptions and discrimination are often massive barriers to seeking treatment, contributing to fear of judgment, shame and isolation- translating to poor outcomes and recovery.
The Mending Minds team took to the task of breaking down stigma in an engaging and methodical way. They started with interactive presentations disseminating key facts and busting popular myths about common mental health disorders, followed by tackling the role of language and workplace discrimination in dismantling stigma. Next was an exciting rapid-fire myth-or-fact quiz to further clear any lingering misbeliefs and finally the booth concluded with a celebrity matching game that served to convey that mental illnesses and disorders are not rare- normalizing the idea that anyone may be affected and deserves helps. Attendees were encouraged to pledge their commitment to the cause by leaving thumbprints on a poster.
Altogether, it was an effective initiative for advocacy on attitudes surrounding mental health treatment, including practical and actionable steps and a gateway to facilitating necessary conversations on the topic.