Plant Fetish: A Creative Challenge to Mental Health Stigma

Qasim, Salma, Mckeown, Michael orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0235-1923, Kunda, Chanje, Wainwright, John Peter orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8190-0144 and Khan, Roxanne orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3485-2450 (2020) Plant Fetish: A Creative Challenge to Mental Health Stigma. Genealogy, 4 (2). p. 40.

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People of BAMME (Black, Asian, Minority, and Migrant ethnic) heritage in the UK experience various anomalies when engaging with mental health services. Typically concentrated at secondary and secure levels of care, these discrepant experiences interact with a reticence to uptake mental health support at the primary care level. Official, national anti-stigma campaigns often reproduce messages that do not connect with BAMME communities, raising questions about how best to challenge stigma in this context. This research paper describes a case study of an alternative means to address stigma, drawing from a dramatic comedy performance, Plant Fetish, written and performed by an artist who carries a diagnosis of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (Complex PTSD). The study comprised of an individual interview with the artist, audience feedback, and a group discussion conducted after the show. Data were subject to interpretative phenomenological analysis. Findings are discussed in relation to the importance of using creativity to increase public awareness of mental health and inform efforts to reduce stigma. We conclude that such approaches show promise and merit further exploration in a context of growing discursive interest in mental health amidst acknowledged deficiencies of contemporary anti-stigma efforts, especially as they apply to BAMME people, their families, and their communities.

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