Should the union impose a ban on songs that stigmatise, glamorise or minimise mental illnesses?

Date embedded: October 2021

Liberation - inclusion - accessibility

Date embedded: October 2021

Proposed by: Alice Scholfield (BL Welfare Rep)
Seconded by: Courtney Mann (Cross-Campus Trans Rep), Lauren Day (Mile End Disabilities and SLD Rep), Thaarabi Tharma (BL BME rep), Megan Annetts (BLSA President), Jack Juckes (BL Disabilities and SLD Rep)



What do you want?

The union should impose a ban on playing any song which obviously and explicitly stigmatises mental illness in student venues and outlets. Songs that stigmatise mental illness often do so by using medical language inappropriately and using slurs, which generates misunderstanding and intolerance towards mental health conditions. In using these inappropriate words, songs may glamorise mental illness, by making it seem like a desirable trait, or minimise it to something appropriate to joke about. A full list of slurs commonly used in popular culture can be found here. This list of songs will be decided by and implemented by welfare zone, as is currently the policy for songs by artists convicted of sexual misconduct. Songs can be suggested by any member of the students' union, including student staff. When “outlets” is used it is referring to: The Griff Inn, Drapers Bar and Kitchen, The Union Shop, Ground, The Village Shop, The Shield Café


Why do you want it?

Mental illness affects 1 in 4 of us each year, and students are particularly at risk. The students union should be a safe place for all students, especially students who have experienced mental illness. Slurs can be incredibly triggering and damaging for people with mental health problems, and the students union should not be exposing individuals to such a potentially upsetting experience when they should be having fun at venues. Over the last few years the union has worked hard to promote a culture of tolerance, understanding and respect through campaigns such as ‘The Elephant in the Room’ and ‘Mental Health Awareness Fortnight’. By banning these songs we are demonstrating that these campaigns are not just words, but actions too.


What impact will this have?

Students will be able to attend venues and outlets without facing triggering language in respect to mental illness. This motion will demonstrate a zero tolerance attitude to ignorance around mental health.


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