RGU apologise for ‘reinforcing negative perceptions’ of mental health patients with silicone masks

They’ve had to put on a brave face after landing themselves in hot water


Robert Gordons have been forced to apologise after lecturers dressed up using stereotypical silicone masks to act as patients with mental health issues.

The concept was that lecturers would wear silicone masks depicting characters that were suffering from mental health issues while the RGU nurses and midwifes carried out practice situations on them.

But the faces were of such a stereotypical nature they were accused of “reinforcing negative perceptions” and fought against a key property of the whole reason for implementing this technique for practice.

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This stemmed from the fact that the masks consisted of “tattoos, scars and facial hair” which some viewed to be uncommon and so took offence to this stereotype.

RGU has been encouraged to “evaluate their effectiveness” for their new plans by various health charities.

One of the characters was named “Sheila”. She suffers from “an anxiety disorder” that stemmed from her story that she “experienced sexual and physical violence as a child”.

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An additional character called “Billy” has “considered suicide and is a problematic alcohol user”. He is also a “north-east farmer with a strong Doric accent who suffers from depression”.

RGU released an apology, through their spokesperson, for the masks stating that they would re-consider the “acceptability” of them.

They also released to the public that their values for educating mental health nurses remains strong through another section of their apology:

“We also want to affirm that we are fully committed to educating mental health nurses whose sole focus is on improving the quality of life for people with mental health problems and apologise to anyone who took offence.”