PhotoVoice is an empowering tool that has been used in a variety of settings and among different constituencies, including communities of people with psychiatric disabilities. PhotoVoice puts cameras in the hands of individuals and asks them to produce statements made up of pictures and words that communicate their experience. This empowering tool enables people at the grassroots level without access to decision-makers to represent and define issues of concern, areas of strength, and targets for change—all of which are routinely defined by health specialists, policy makers, or professionals.
Below you will find the work of a former Recovery Education Program student enrolled in the course: Taking off the Blinders – A project to combat stigma and discrimination.
The drain calls to me because of all the hurtful things people have said to me over the decades about my mental illness. In sum, I have been told that I am a drain on the nation, a drain on society, and a drain on multiple individuals’ resources. Over the years, I have come to believe this, which has been a drain on me. Education about mental illness (and the effects of trauma) should be able to reach out to the general public, as well as healthcare professionals. Knowledge and understanding can be powerful weapons in combating stigma.
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This curriculum, consists of a workbook, a leader’s guide, and the DVD, Beyond the Shadow of Stigma. The workbook leads students through the PhotoVoice process step-by-step, while the leader’s guide provides comprehensive instruction in leading PhotoVoice workshops.
This newsletter describes how the PhotoVoice is being used as an intervention through the Recovery Education Program at the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation.
Voices of Recovery is a combination of stories and Photovoice projects, which includes a photograph and a short narrative explaining the personal meaning behind the picture from the photographer’s point of view.
Looking Beyond the Label: PhotoVoice Posters to Raise Awareness around Prejudice and Discrimination in Mental Health
These posters were produced by people in recovery as part of a peer-led training curriculum to help fight currents of ignorance, prejudice, and discrimination around mental health issues.
Recognizing the power of PhotoVoice in exploring stigma, the Center has embarked on a new project. Through funding from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) and the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), the Center is currently developing and pilot-testing a peer-run PhotoVoice intervention meant to foster mental health consumers’ competence in coping with stigma and discrimination. Focusing on increasing consumers’ awareness of stigma and discrimination while empowering them to cope with different types of stigma through adaptive coping strategies, the program will emphasize recovery. In two different settings, eighty individuals will be randomly assigned to either the PhotoVoice stigma intervention or to a wait list control group. The study will measure the efficacy of the intervention in terms of stigma coping skills, level of self-stigma, empowerment, self-efficacy, and depression.
To find out more about the curriculum that is being created as part of this project, please contact Zlatka Russinova, Ph.D. at firstname.lastname@example.org.