In a previous post I wrote about a controversial newspaper article which was widely condemned as stigmatising people with mental illness. A campaign against this same article has been started by a psychologist on the site Change.org. The campaign asks for the newspaper to make corrections to the story. Remarkably at the time of writing the campaign has 81,191 signatories.
At the time of writing, Change.org has 40 million members in 196 countries. Change.org was the medium for a previously successful campaign to challenge the lyrics in a song which stigmatised people with Autism.
The site Change.org has provided the platform for two campaigns and shows a simple way for people to work together to effect change. A really neat feature of these campaigns is that they are directed to the people/organisations who were responsible for stigmatising without the need for third parties.
This highlights another feature that Change.org and campaign organisers have realised which is that a direct approach is possible enabling the people/organisations to respond. This avoids miscommunication and allows for reflection. This platform gives a voice to people who feel strongly about such issues and allows them to effect change collectively.
A new force has arisen in society which circumvents frustration, powerlessness, miscommunication, marches and demonstrations and realises the might of the ‘digital pen’ in the 21st century. For a long time those with mental illness and related conditions have been stigmatised in society. Although there have been many organisations and people that have challenged this stigma, platforms such as Change.org facilitate such challenges in ways that have never been possible before and give us a bright hope for the future.
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