Mental health stigma and discrimination: blogs and stories

1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year. When we make assumptions about how mental health problems will affect someone's behaviour, this makes it more likely that they will be singled out, or labelled as different, dangerous or strange. This is what we call stigma. Treating someone differently from how we treat others because of their mental health, whether consciously or subconsciously, is what we call discrimination.

People with mental illnesses often experience stigma and discrimination that can be worse than the illness itself. In our Stigma Shout survey, 9 out 10 people with mental health problems reported the negative impact of stigma and discrimination on their lives.

These blogs are written by people who have personal experiences of mental health stigma or discrimination and illustrate how it can affect them.

You can help by ensuring your friend or relative is not afraid to speak out about mental health or is left wondering where they can turn for help. Read our tips on talking or pledge to talk about mental health today >>


My mum taught me mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of

I have battled with my mental health for as long as I can remember and so I have had plenty of time to come to terms with my mental illness, to learn what it is and ways of managing it. That being said, I suppose my mum has also had a lot of time to come to terms with it, to come to terms with having a child that suffers with her mental health and as a result needed extra support.

If you're worried about your friends' mental health, talk to them

If I didn't have my friends I wouldn't be as happy as I am now. In my darkest moments, they support me. When I feel like there is no light, they switch it on. When my thoughts are drowning me, they give me a new perspective. When I feel like a failure, they remind me of my worth. At every single point of my journey through life, they celebrate my achievements and my happiness, and they support me through despair. They make sure I never feel alone. They never pretended to know the answers.

I didn't take my mental health seriously until I spoke to a friend about it

I have anxiety and depression. I also suffer from panic attacks. It makes life so hard on a daily basis, everything I seem to worry and panic about, literally everything. Going out and socialising, I can't do much because of my anxiety. It sucks having both of them because most of the times they just come together and make your day even worse. I used to be very much high functioning, but for some reason that I've not found out yet, I just all of a sudden dropped, and the high functioning person I used to be had just disappeared.

All my friends had to do was lend an ear

My name is Andy.  I’ve suffered terribly with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember but I’ve only come to terms with it over the last 18 months.                                       

In 2008 my closest circle of friends of five, sadly became a circle of 4 following the untimely death of Perry.  Perry committed suicide after his wife left him and I still kick myself every time I think of him as I simply could not see the signs.  The remaining four of us celebrate Perry’s life on the anniversary of his death every year.

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