Deanah McCormack Counselling services, Tralee - Mental Health Stigma.
In 2010 research was completed on behalf of See Change, the National Mental Health Partnership who aim to reduce Mental Health Stigma. http://www.seechange.ie/index.php/stigma-and-discrimination/98-research Almost one thousand adults were interviewed to get a broad picture of the prevailing attitudes in Ireland today to Mental Health.
One in eleven people rightly responded that 25% of the population will experience mental illness over the course of their lives.
70% of respondents acknolwedged the non-discrimnatory nature of mental illness, however 50% of these respondents if experiencing a mental health problem would not like to share this with another.
While approximately 70% of respondents acknowledged that those with mental health illness should enjoy the same occupational priveleges as everyone else, less than half believed that this is a reality.
All of these statistics point to an underlying fear and uncertainty with regards to mental health issues and our general attitudes towards it. Uncertaintly and fear can limit a person's self-efficacy.
To de-stigmatize mental health illness, we must be able to relate to mental health issues in a way that is personally meaningful to all of us. This we can achieve through education and open discussion.
There are a number of initiatives and forums available to support and inform us in this area. Some examples; The N.O.S.P.'s media campaign on 'Your Mental Health' THe organization Headstrong and the See Change - Make a Ripple forum.
What can you do locally, within your community to promote Mental Health Awareness?
Check out the following links if you would like more in depth information.