Mental Health Stigma

Regardless of the increase in promotion surrounding How to be a mentalist health and mental health issues, there’s still a lack of understanding about mental health generally. For example, a research survey published by the authorities”Attitudes to Mental Illness 2007″ reported that 63% of those surveyed described someone who’s mentally ill as suffering from schizophrenia, and more than half believed that people with mental illness should be held in a psychiatric ward or clinic. Overall the results showed that favorable attitudes to people with mental health had actually decreased since 1994 that is stressing.

Amazingly, a lot of individuals still do not know that mental health problems affect many of us in 1 way or another, whether we’re afflicted by a psychological illness ourselves or not. If we bear in mind that a few of the people are suffering from some kind of mental health problem at any one time, then the chances are, even though we personally don’t have a mental illness, we’ll know someone close to us who does, therefore it is our responsibility to know what mental illness is and what could be done about it.

Many people with mental health issues will often feel isolated and rejected and also afraid to talk about their problems with others purely due to the way they might be perceived. This lack of understanding means they are not as inclined to acquire the kind of help and support they require and are at risk of slipping even further into depression and mental disease. People need to understand that mental illness does not need to be a barrier to a better quality of life and this help is available and that most people with a mental health problem can recover complete control over their lives should they get the support they want.

A new guide to emotional health

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has produced a new guide to mental health which was published in November 2007 and is aimed at informing the general public about what mental illness is and is now a big step in tackling the stigma that is still attached to mental illness.

The guide is written in an easy to comprehend format and above 60 mental health specialists have led to it. The Mind: A User’s Guide includes chapters which cover an entire selection of mental illnesses and includes a section on how the brain works, the way mental illness is diagnosed, and how to cope with this.

A Scottish poll

In Scotland, a national survey of public attitudes to mental health Well? What Do You Think? (2006) was printed in September 2007 and emphasized that although individuals living in socially disadvantaged areas have a higher prevalence of psychological health, the level of stigmatisation remains no lower than in other areas. This implies that being faced with emotional illness is not enough to change the attitudes towards it.

There are also gender differences too. As stated by the Scottish survey, guys having a mental health problem were more likely to be treated with distress than women and were also more inclined to avoid social contact with someone else using a mental health issue. Even out of those who displayed a positive attitude towards people with mental health issues, many stated they’d be reluctant to tell anyone when they had a mental health problem themselves which only goes to show that there is still fear surrounding different individuals’ perceptions of mental health.

A CIPD Survey

A recent study conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and KPMG consultants surveyed over 600 employers and reported that doctors are not doing enough to help people with mental health problems return to work and that this is costing the business world billions of pounds. For example, only 3% of the participants rated doctor support as “very good”.

It may be that doctors really don’t know what else to offer someone suffering from depression and anxiety other than drugs and time off work. On a more positive note, of those that did hire someone with a mental health problem, more than half said the experience had been “positive”.

Changing attitudes

A lot has been done by organisations and governments to try and alter public attitudes towards mental health but is it sufficient? Until we all recognise that mental illness does not discriminate, it can affect any one of us at any moment regardless of our age, gender or social background, the stigma attached to mental illness is likely to persist.

Mental illness doesn’t discriminate, it can affect any one of us at any time regardless of our age, sex or social background, and the stigma attached to mental illness still stays. Although a number of government initiatives, awareness campaigns and organisations are set up especially to handle mental health stigma and alter our attitudes towards mental health generally, there’s still quite a ways to go.

It is therefore up to each and every one of us as people to make sure we are well informed and understand the problems involved since only when the people are fully conscious of the truth will mental health stigma become something of the past.