Stigma and Discrimination Attached To Mental Health.

In my personal experiences of living with mental illness and opinion I believe the social stigma attached to mental ill health and the discrimination people experience on a daily basis can make their difficulties worse and make it harder to recover.

Mental illness is common. It affects thousands of people in the UK, and their friends, families, work colleagues and society and safety in general.

• One in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives.

• Around one in ten children experience mental health problems. 

• Depression affects around one in 12 of the whole population.

• Rates of self-harm in the UK are the highest in Europe at 400 per 100,000.

• 450 million people world-wide have a mental health problem.

Most people who experience mental health problems fully recover and see that light after periods of extreme pain and darkness and are able to live with and manage their symptoms successfully and positively especially if people can get help early on. Unfortunately that’s not always easy and the case at present as our mental health and counselling services are all overstretched.

So many people are affected by mental illness, it’s 2019 and there is a strong social stigma attached to mental ill health, and people with mental health problems can experience discrimination in all aspects of their lives? Why this certainly shouldn’t be the case in our modern society.

Many people’€s problems are made worse by the stigma and discrimination they experience – from society, but also from families, friends and employers.

Nearly nine out of ten people with mental health problems say that stigma and discrimination have a negative effect on their lives.

We know that people with mental health problems are amongst the least likely of any group with a long-term health condition or disability to:

• find work

• be in a steady, long-term relationship

• live in decent housing 

• be socially included in mainstream society.

Society in general has stereotyped views about mental illness and how it affects people, especially men. We are living in a society where it’s weak for men to cry, reach out and ask for help as its damaging to our masculinity, nonsense.

Many people believe that people with mental ill health are violent and dangerous, when in fact they are more at risk of being attacked or harming themselves than harming other people.

Stigma and discrimination can also worsen someone’s mental health problems, and delay or impede their getting help and treatment, and their recovery. Social isolation, poor housing, unemployment and poverty are all linked to mental ill health. So stigma and discrimination can trap people in a cycle of illness.

The situation is exacerbated by the media, using negative and outrageous terminology regarding men and masculinity.

Media reports often link mental illness with violence, or portray people with mental health problems as dangerous, criminal, evil, or very disabled and unable to live normal, fulfilled lives.

This is far from the case.

The best way to challenge these stereotypes is through firsthand contact with people with experience of mental health problems. There is a few local and national campaigns that are doing there best to trying to change public attitudes and raise awareness to mental illness. Such as See Me, Mind and Time To Change.

Always remember It’s ok not to be ok and good to cry, please never filter your feelings.

Steven Connelly

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