Unit for Stigma Research
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  • The importance of self-advocacy and the voices of people with learning disabilities in challenging inequality- The Standing Up For Myself Programme | by Laurie Poole

    By Laurie A Poole, on 20 June 2018

    This week it is Learning Disability Week (18th – 24th June, 2018), and we are standing together with individuals, families, schools, colleges, and many other organisations across the country to speak up for the rights and needs of people with a learning disability.

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    In2gr8mentalhealth – Harriet Mills in conversation with Dr Natalie Kemp, CPsychol

    By Laurie A Poole, on 22 May 2018


    Dr Natalie Kemp CPsychol, is an active member of the HOP-MHP stakeholder group. She identifies as a clinical psychologist in recovery from mental ill health. In October 2017, she set up the online peer support group in2gr8mentalhealth, which provides a space for different mental health professionals with lived experience to come together and share and explore their ‘dual identity’. Read the rest of this entry »

    Mental health disclosure amongst clinical psychologists in training: Perfectionism and pragmatism | by Tom Grice

    By Laurie A Poole, on 11 April 2018

    In research conducted at UCL and published last month in Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 67% of clinical psychology trainees who completed our survey considered themselves to have lived experience of a mental health problem.

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    Launch of the UCL Unit for Stigma Research (UCLUS) Friday 16th February 2018 – Morning Session: Evidence Based Ways of Tackling Intellectual Disability Stigma| By Kristina Fenn

    By Laurie A Poole, on 7 March 2018

    Paul Davies, Co-Chair

    Katrina Scior, UCLUS Director, and Paul Davies, Self-Advocate working for the -Elfrida Society, welcomed everyone and shared the vision of UCLUS: to enhance our understanding of stigma and evidence based ways to challenge it  this through research. Katrina introduced work that demonstrates the multiple ways stigma affects people with intellectual disabilities and their families,  and made explicit the link between negative stereotypes, reduced opportunities, discrimination, and other negative outcomes.

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    Launch of the UCL Unit for Stigma Research (UCLUS) Friday 16th February 2018 – Afternoon Session: Lived Experience and Stigma among Mental Health Professionals -Time for Greater Openness? | By Harriet Mills

    By Laurie A Poole, on 7 March 2018

    Katrina Scior

    The session was chaired by Katrina Scior and Henry Clements, Director and Clinician Researcher with UCLUS respectively. In introducing the afternoon’s theme Katrina noted that having researched disability stigma for a number of years, their group has felt increasing discomfort about stigma colleagues with lived experience of mental health problems face and a general reluctance within the mental health professions to talk about our own vulnerabilities. Katrina asked the room “Is there a need for greater openness among the mental health workforce?”

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    The UCL Unit for Stigma Research will officially launch on 16th February 2018. We look forward to welcoming you to the event.

    By Laurie A Poole, on 12 January 2018

    The Unit for Stigma Research (UCLUS) seeks to produce boundary crossing research that increases our understanding of stigma in relation to disability, mental health problems and dementia and informs the development of effective interventions designed to tackle stigma at all levels. Read the rest of this entry »

    “I don’t like wheelchairs. I am ok, I am” – Partner Selection and the Stigma associated with Outward Indicators of Disability | By Dr Claire Bates (Choice Support, Tizard Centre, University of Kent).

    By Laurie A Poole, on 7 December 2017

    What do people with learning disabilities want in a partner?         

    My PhD showed me that people with learning disabilities want to find love just like anyone else, that they value similar characteristics and attributes to the general population: a kind, affectionate and loving partner. However, traditionally desirable characteristics among people without learning disabilities, such as physical attractiveness and social status, were unimportant (Bates et al., 2016). To help more people with learning disabilities to find love, I have subsequently established a national network comprising both professionals and people with learning disabilities called ‘Supported Loving’ (https://www.choicesupport.org.uk/our-work/supported-loving-campaign). Read the rest of this entry »

    SICK! Living with Invisible Illness. An exhibition at Sun Pier House Chatham | By Lisa Richardson

    By Laurie A Poole, on 31 October 2017



    Ok, hands up! This blog post is not about intellectual disability per say, but more broadly about stigma experienced in a number of contexts by people with invisible illnesses (intellectual disabilities are not illnesses and they are not always invisible, but sometimes they are).

    I have been moved to write about this exhibition challenging the stigma experienced by people with invisible illnesses which I happened to visit in August of this year. The event was ‘Sick!’, an art exhibition at Sun Pier house in Chatham in Kent.

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    Stigma Experienced by the Families of Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities – Development of FAMSI by Natasha Mitter

    By Laurie A Poole, on 13 October 2017


    Individuals with intellectual disabilities are one of the most ostracised groups and face stigma, prejudice and significant obstacles that restrict their human rights (European Union Monitoring and Advocacy Programme, 2005). Often, people associated with the target individual are also subjected to stigmatisation, referred to as family stigma, courtesy stigma (Goffman, 1963) or associative stigma (Mehta & Farina, 1988). Related to these is the construct of affiliate stigma, which involves the internalisation of stigma by associates, such as family caregivers of individuals with intellectual disabilities

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    Mencap’s new All in Award: Can it improve children’s attitudes towards peers with learning disabilities? | by Sophie FitzGerald, UCL

    By ID Stigma UCL, on 31 August 2017


    Children’s attitudes towards their peers with intellectual disabilities (or in UK terminology: learning disabilities) have been found to be negative and children with intellectual disabilities are less accepted across a wide range of settings and countries. As attitudes are still developing in childhood, early intervention is likely to be more successful.

    Contact with another group has been found to be most effective in improving attitudes towards that group. Carter, Biggs and Blustein (2016) highlight five core elements most likely to foster positive relationships between children with and without intellectual disabilities:

    1. sustained shared experiences,
    2. common connections,
    3. valued roles,
    4. relevant information,
    5. balanced support from facilitative staff which encourages but does not hinder new relationships.

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