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stigma and discrimination

Stigma, Discrimination and Mental Health.


 
1 in 4 people in the UK will suffer with a mental illness. 

 
 
In 1994 I went to LA  for a girls holiday, it was one of the best holidays ever.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Although I experienced a number of wonderful things, such as Venice beach, meeting celebrities, partying etc, one situation that really stood out for me occurred when a couple decided they would give us a lift to the beach.  Whilst in the car, the couple disclosed to my friends and I that they had experienced a number of problems in their lives and had received therapy to curtail them.

Upon leaving the vehicle and thanking the heavens that this couple had not murdered us, my friends and I talked about how candid this couple had been about their past struggles with drug addiction and use of therapy.
Now 19 years have passed, I'm a qualified therapist and the couples disclosure has even more significance to me.  I applaud and embrace their overt discourse regarding mental health and therapy.

However, here's the question, how likely are you to tell someone that you are in therapy or suffering from a mental illness?

The stigma that is attached to mental illness and therapy is still prevalent in British society.  I believe that more needs to be done to stop this epidemic.  It remains tacit and the need to talk about the myths that surround mental health is necessary.
 
Campaigns such as  time-to-change, a collaborative venture with Mind, Rethink and funded by the Department of Health are avidly working upon eliminating the stigma and discrimination attached to mental illness.  They drive their message home through various means such as ads, pledges from celebrities and lay people and candid blogs written by those living with a mental illness.
 

 
As a qualified therapist, at SW11 Counselling, clients that have talked about their mental health often highlight the  fear of talking about it  with friends/family members; they express concerns about the possible rejection/blame they may experience if they do disclose to significant others, employers or educational providers.

Let's review those statistics again.  1 in 4 UK residents will experience a mental health issue. In 2012 the estimated population in the UK was 63.7 million, thus it could be surmised that 15.9 million people that reside in the UK would have suffered from a mental health issue last year.  That is a considerable amount of people who not only feel debilitated by their mental health, but also by society.

How likely are you to tell someone that you have a mental health issue?
Could you be as candid as the American couple were 19 years ago?

Thanks for reading this blog and as always your comments are welcomed.