Mental health problems affect one in four people and the World Health Organization estimates that depression will become the leading cause of disability by 2020. Part of the problem is social and political lack of knowledge, fear and discrimination which can lead to isolation, feelings of rejection and a reluctance to approach service providers for help.
Are you someone who is misunderstood by your family and service providers? Have you been shunned by friends and work colleagues when you have tried to talk about mental health or challenged discrimination towards those with mental health concerns? Do you feel isolated living with mental health difficulties?
You can find resources, online support and guidance on Time to Talk Day, supported by the Department of Health and leading charities. Time to Talk Day focuses on creating sustainable change in the way society, employers and institutions approach mental health. Nine out of ten people with a mental health problem have experienced discrimination, some have been victims of violence.
Studies have shown that stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health:
prevents people from seeking help
excludes people from day-to-day activities
prevents people from seeking employment.
It is especially difficult to function in the workplace when you are living with a mental health problem. Two thirds of people with mental health problems believe that long hours, unrealistic workloads or bad management either caused or exacerbated their condition.
Language in particular is a regular challenge; most people are unaware of the offense caused by off-hand remarks which are rooted in the history of discrimination towards those with mental health problems. Before 2013 when the Mental Health Discrimination Act was signed into law, people who had been sectioned for more than 6 months were not eligible to be elected as a Member of Parliament. In addition, before the Act became law, people currently receiving treatment for mental health problems could not serve on juries, and company directors could be removed because of a mental illness
Most people have not explored the stereotypical views that they themselves hold towards those with mental health problems. We recommend that all employers routinely prompt employees to stop and think about mental health. The Inclusion Team has a range of resources that you can use to improve understanding of mental health and support employees. Contact us for details.
1) Today you can start with focusing on using appropriate terminology which doesn’t demean someone. For example:
‘a person who has experienced psychosis’ or ‘a person who has schizophrenia’
someone who ‘has a diagnosis of’ is ‘currently experiencing’ or ‘is being treated for…
‘a person with a mental health problem’
‘patients’, ‘service users’ or clients
2) The incidence of depression in minority ethnic groups has been found to be 60% higher than in the white population. To put measures support measures in place read Stigma Shout.
3) During a break, take a quiz – learn more about mental health. It takes about 5 to 10 minutes and gives you a good grounding of mental health in the UK.