Changing the paradigm : reflections on experiences in workshops to reduce stigma and discrimination in mental health services : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy at Massey University
One of the key objectives of the national Like Minds, Like Mine project against stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness is to work with the mental health sector to change attitudes and behaviour through education and policy development. This action research thesis examines the effectiveness of workshops aimed at reducing the stigma and discrimination within mental health services. Most hospital based mental health services were developed within the 'medical model' based on professional power. Non-discriminatory services are seen to be those that support a 'recovery model', as promulgated by the Mental Health Commission, which is based on partnership and participation by service users. For many services this requires a change in their culture. This research examines the effectiveness of workshops designed to support such cultural change, facilitated by people with experience of mental illness. Observation, evaluation and reflection on two workshops, and the findings of a literature search informed practices, with new techniques developed and trialled.