I work within mental health and within our service we are thinking about changing the name of our service to something less stigmatising. We are thinking of inviting some patients to voluntarily come along to a lunchtime meeting (lunch included) to get them to suggest new names for the service which will then be put in a questionnaire so all patients can vote on their preferred name.
My question is this- do you think you would attend a meeting like this in person (just thinking of the time to get there, time off work, being around other patients etc) or do you think it would be better if you could just suggest a new name via the post?
Ha, make sure you don't do what my local service did.
I'd been referred for a ME/CFS programme to a hospital department with a named building (rather than "Oncology", etc), which sent letters with no mention of the department and gave phone numbers of answering machines with no mention of the department.
And a couple of months later I got a letter asking for my opinion as a "user of our Mental Health services".
Tho' actually as the first thing you saw when you went in was a cupboard marked "CBT materials", it wasn't exactly news. Still, the absurd and ineffectual attempt at deceit did make me feel just that teensy bit more patronised.
If you really want to be less stigmatising, do less of this. It's pretty dehumanising. And I know all departments have staff who behave like this, but if stigma's important enough to spend money rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic changing the department's name, it's important enough to tackle staff behaviour.
That sounds harsh, and I feel I should end with a paean to hard-working, undervalued, overstretched MH staff. All true.