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[St Patrick's Mental Health Services] [Mental health] Stigma still a significant factor. (10 Sep 2013)


World Suicide Awareness Day 2013: Stigma still a significant factor as 41% surveyed tell St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services that getting treatment for a mental health issue is a sign of personal failure

Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

New figures released today by St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services show that lack of understanding of mental health problems is still fuelling stigma and preventing people from accessing support.

The disturbing findings show that;
• 22% of people surveyed believe that those suffering from mental health problems are of below average intelligence.
• 30% of respondents stated that they would not willingly accept someone with a mental health problem as a close friend.
• 60% would discriminate against hiring someone with a history of mental illness on the grounds that they may be unreliable and
• 41% felt that undergoing treatment for a mental health problem is a sign of personal failure.

The survey was fielded to 500 members of the public nationwide. It has a confidence rating of 95% and a confidence interval of 4%.

Paul Gilligan, CEO at St. Patrick’s, says “Each year we continue to be disturbed by the level of stigma that still exists towards those with a mental health difficulty. We know that one in four of us will have to deal with such a difficulty like this at some point in our lives. That means every single family in Ireland is affected by mental illness”.

Paul continued, “We need to challenge the stigma that exists and prioritise mental health in the same way we do our physical health. It has been said that physical health is easier to understand because we know that healing is possible. However there is a need to promote mental health education in Irish schools and workplaces to ensure that everyone knows that recovery is possibleand those that need help don’t wait to get that help.”

The survey confirmed that exposure to mental health problems is very widespread with;
• 37% of respondents revealing that a close member of their family (parent, child, brother, sister) has been treated,
• 52% stating that close friends have been treated, and
• 49% confirming they have worked with someone who has been treated for emotional or mental health problems.

Paul Gilligan said “St Patrick’s is committed to campaigning at a national level to combat the stigmatisation of mental illness and to ensure that those suffering from mental illness have access to the highest quality mental health care and are fully included in Irish society. It is through this and other campaigns that St. Patrick’s will strive for wider acceptance and a better understanding of mental illness.”


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