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 >>


Dissociative identity disorder is still so poorly understood

So, seven years ago I was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (DID). No, I hadn’t heard of it either. I was 16 at the time – I was in an adolescent psychiatric ward, a secure intensive care ward, 230 miles from home. It was terrifying. Getting a diagnosis was a positive, a weight off my mind, it all made so much sense. I was given some literature to read and it was practically my life story. Then the journey really began.

You can be a man and still be open about your mental health

Suicide in men is one of the greatest problems of our time and yet one of the least talked about topics. What many don’t realise is that suicide is the leading cause of death in men under 50 despite the fact twice as many women get diagnosed with depression. Just have a little think about those two facts for a few seconds. It’s not cancer, or road accidents, or some other topic the media loves to run with like global warming that is killing men, it’s suicide.

Stigma as a young person stopped me from getting help

Everyone says that your school days shape your life. But I feel that mine did in a profound way. And I’m still affected by it every day. I was sixteen when I first started struggling significantly with mental ill health. At the time I had no idea what it was – or even if I was ill – and that terrified me; the idea that I could be like that forever was my worst nightmare.

The word psychosis is still met with fear and judgement

My name is Melissa, I am 26 years old and have experienced symptoms of psychosis for as long as I can remember. If I mentioned my symptoms to anyone it was put down to “imagination” or some sort of supernatural phenomena, like ghosts; no one ever thought that it could be something to do with my mental health.

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