WACIT South America: Mixing service users with communities is an effective anti-stigma strategy in Brazil

Perversely, I find this more worthwhile than the item that dominates the world news today. On both days here in the State of Sau Paulo, you could not tell (I ​​still don’t know) who were current or previous child mental health service users, and who joined from the local community.

Whether it was for a hip hop or traditional dance lesson, or just for fun, there was clear purpose in anonymously mixing the two groups. The same applied to the band members. Does it really matter? If the purpose is genuine and not tokenistic, it should not.

If anything, communities seemed to appreciate opportunities opening up for them from the events association with mental health. As the events also challenged some of our own conventional staff traditions and behaviours in how to engage with service users, they could only be positive models for the future. 

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