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 >>


Talking about mental illness helps fight stigma

When I was a teenager I had a painful hip condition, which had me wheelchair bound for a couple of years: no-one said that "I had surely had enough (physio)therapy by now", "was I sure that taking medication was the best option?", that "it would be better if I didn’t mention it", that I was a "drain on the health services". Yet, somehow, when you are suffering from mental illness such comments seem to come with the territory.

Stigma sometimes gets in the way but I know I am capable of succeeding at university

13th September 2014 was one of the most important days of my life so far. I was moving to university to study a social work degree. I’d blogged about my journey for months on my blog and it was finally here. The moment I had been waiting for. I was elated. But at the same time, I was filled with dread. This was a big experience for me, and one that would test my mental health.

I've experienced stigma but I'm still open about my mental health problems

A-levels are hard for everyone. The challenge to “do well” is enough when you’re healthy, but when you suffer from severe mood swings and impulses, which leave you exhausted, irritable and sometimes incapacitated, it sets a whole new challenge. My bipolarity came to the surface at a bad time.

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