The service users that we support often have appearances and behaviours that make them appear different from the 'general public'.
Low motivation, lack of self esteem, high medication and side effects and their personal perceptions mean that their appearance is often unkempt.
This often makes them a target for discrimination when out in the community.
When accompanying service users out in the community staff are aware and are reminded of this factor and are told to monitor for signs of discrimination.
The service user support plan will detail what to do if there are early signs of distress when out and gives clear actions to avoid escalation of symptoms if this is the case.
One of our service users who looks particularly different is often monitored by security staff on CCTV in our local supermarket, it is noticeable to support staff that the cameras and occasionally staff follow him as they have made a decision that due to the way he looks he poses a risk to the store from theft.
This particular service user is also very nervous and appears agitated when shopping which makes the store staff more suspicious of him.
As we have now developed good relationship with the store , we have had the opportunity to explain and educate the staff within the store so they can understand why our service user exhibits such behaviours.
We sadly see discrimination from within other organisations due to the fact that someone has a 'Label' of a mental health diagnosis.
One service user was due to have a medical procedure as a day patient in a local hospital.
After a long waiting list period he was called for assessment where they found that he was suitable to have this procedure done locally, however, due to his diagnosis of Schizophrenia, the local surgeon was concerned that he may become distressed.
The service User was re-referred to the waiting list to have the procedure undertaken at a major hospital where sedating services were available.
Despite Our support...