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 >>


There should be no shame in experiencing psychosis

Three years ago last month, my mind lost touch with reality in a very rapid turn of events that culminated in an acute manic episode of bipolar affective disorder. Having been diagnosed with bipolar in 2004, I had not experienced any mania or hypomania (a lesser manic state) in ten years, although I had fallen into a suicidal depression just six months earlier.

It can be terrifying to open up about mental health

As someone with a mental illness, it can be terrifying to open up to those around you in fear of people judging you and not accepting you for who you are. For a very long time, this was exactly what I felt like. My battle with mental illness began when I was around 15, but it was July 2016 when I reached breaking point that I realised that I needed to open up about my anxiety and depression. During that time period, I was lowest I had ever been, pushing those I loved away and wanting to be non-existent.

The words "are you ok mate" meant everything to me

During my life, I have suffered with severe depression. Being a professional sportsman and trying to put up a front all the time became exhausting. I reached the top of my sport, but getting there resulted in my breakdown, and subsequently my suicide attempts and early retirement. The chronic lack of self esteem and while trying to remain confident to family, friends and for my career was too much.

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