Blog post

Mental health: Is 2017 the year we actually tackle the stigma?

We all have mental health. Just like our physical health, both need to be looked after. However, when people experience mental health problems they become affected by the stigma that is associated. They experience this in a way that someone with a physical problem, such as cancer or diabetes, would not.

By Alison Kilduff - 2 February 2017

Despite the fact that we know that mental health problems currently affect one in four of the UK population, many people who are experiencing mental health issues don’t get help. This is because they fear people will judge them. Many believe they will lose their sense of self, be judged and seen only as a label or a diagnosis.

For many people living with mental health problems, their fears continue to become true

Talk to anyone who has experienced mental health problems and they will tell you that one of the worst parts about having a mental health issue is the stigma and consequent social exclusion attached to them. People feel embarrassed, ashamed and believe that people will think less of them.

People living with these problems often believe they will lose friends, jobs, income and be perceived as dangerous or unstable.

Media representations in television programmes, films and newspaper stories can reinforce negative stereotypes by routinely linking mental health issues to violence and criminality.

2017 is the year this needs to change

Being open to mental health is one of the biggest challenges we need to overcome. We need to reevaluate our attitudes, our beliefs and our behaviour towards those who experience mental health problems.

Today (February 2) is national Time to Talk Day – an annual event supported by a growing social movement led by charities Mind and Rethink, as part of the Time to Change campaign, which aims to change how we think and act about mental health.

This is important because challenging inequality and recognising the impact of stigma will have a huge impact on the care that you or someone close to you may receive.

Here are some common misconceptions about mental health problems that the Time to Talk 2017 campaign aims to stop and replace with facts:

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About the author

A headshot of Alison Kilduff - head of Mental Health Nursing

Alison Kilduff
Former Head of Mental Health Nursing

Alison was the lead on Mental Health Nursing at the University of Derby at both our Kedleston Road and St. Helena's campus. She has had a long career in the NHS prior to working at the University.