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Our Knowledge Matters

Compound= make (something bad) worse; intensify the negative aspects of. (1)

Stigma= shame associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person (2)

Anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE analogies. In today’s case, I would like to speak of the importance of knowledge and care as it relates to how we approach and educate ourselves regarding mental health and LGBTQIA communities being at higher risks for mental illness. In part because of compounded stigma.

However, before I continue, a plug to say that- educating ourselves is essential, and @outtoprotect will offer in-person trainings on August 8th and 9th in Napa, California. LGBT Awareness for Law Enforcement Training for Trainers on August 8th, and LGBT Law Enforcement Community Liason on August 9th, both in partnership with Napa Valley College. Now, if you are interested in my analogy, please keep reading.

With compounded stigma, I like to think of weights that are too heavy for the being attempting to lift them. Already there is a struggle. Now imagine that that weight is doubled, now it is doubly difficult (is doubly a word?). And if you triple that weight or further, it becomes…seemingly impossible, almost impossible, too-too heavy.

So this analogy works for me, but of course, if it does not work for you, I hope it at least illuminates that compounded stigma is- difficulty and lack of support that is doubled or tripled, quadrupled, quintupled, sextupled, and on and on by the circumstances and conditions that come together for individuals facing challenges surrounding their identities, health, trauma, etc.

A particular community that is susceptible to having compounded stigma is the LGBTQIA community, especially as it relates to Mental Health and even more so as it relates to mental health while being in helping/serving professions. Various stigmas (not valid stigmas but unfortunate stigmas that are sadly still a part of our present-day cultures) affect individuals doing essential and meaningful work for our communities.

This is only one of the reasons why being well informed is so important. Why proceeding with care is so important. Why our knowledge matters. Why our actions matter. Why our words matter.

I look forward to improving my own knowledge and hope to attend @outtoprotect’s training held this August in Napa, California. I also look forward to seeing @outtoprotect, @iefpa, and everyone else joining there! Fingers crossed, I make it!!

(1) & (2) definitions from the oxford dictionary