In recent weeks there has been an increased pledge to tackle mental health stigma, both in politics and the media. The prime minister, Theresa May, announced plans to transform the way in which it’s dealt with and high profile campaigns were launched. Both have certainly caught the public’s attention.
A whole host of public figures have taken action too, as well as sharing their experiences. Boxing legend Frank Bruno launched The Frank Bruno Foundation this week, a registered charity offering support for those experiencing or recovering from mental ill health. Ryan Reynolds and Ellen DeGeneres were further high profile celebrities speaking out, showing support for the Bell Let’s Talk campaign started in Canada – an initiative encouraging people to start a conversation about mental health which received global coverage. Time to Talk Day is also fast approaching which encourages the nation to start talking about mental health.
We are certainly in a time where we cannot afford to be sceptical or dismissive about any initiative on stigma, especially when statistics show that 9 out of 10 with mental health problems experience stigma or discrimination in some way. It is my belief that the de-stigmatisation of mental illness needs a complete change throughout society, in schools, the workplace and in some cases the health care system itself.
The prime minister has a huge task on her hands, but there is no doubt that her announcement and celebrity backing gives the fight to stop stigma a new lease of life. Stigma is a serious issue that requires attention in so many areas of society. The negative impact it can have on patients and those around them should not be underestimated.
By Jotham Kasinganeti
We provide 24-hour care and support in our award winning mental health rehabilitation units based in the West Midlands. The service is for both men and women (18 – 65) with severe and enduring mental illness, mild learning disabilities as well as patients with forensic histories.
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