The Scottish Mental Illness Stigma Study
The Scottish Mental Illness Stigma Study explores where and how people with more complex mental illnesses face stigma and discrimination and the impact this has.
The study has highlighted that people are holding back from attending events and doing activities which contribute to basic happiness – withdrawing from friendships, not pursuing employment opportunities and even stopping themselves from getting medical assistance when feeling unwell. Some of the key stats from the study include:
- 92% of participants say that they have experienced stigma in relationships with family and friends in the last year.
- 53% said they respected themselves less because they will not recover or get better.
- Of those who had faced stigma in relationships, 82% expected others would not want to be their friend due to their mental illness.
- 77% said they had been treated unfairly at work.
- Of those who had faced stigma in mental healthcare services, 58% had avoided calling an ambulance or attending A&E in relation for emergency mental healthcare.
Student experiences highlighted
“I am a skills network and open university student. I have struggled to hand in assignments cos I’ve had a bad week or time. Meaning I’ve had to give up the course, then being banned for I think its 6-12 months from applying for another course”
“I have been encouraged by the head of postgraduate student support, in the name of my mental health, to give up my PhD.”
“The course I was on was fairly open about mental health discussion between students and lecturers during the academic section of the degree (it was a PGDE for Secondary Teaching). But as soon as placements began, any talk about mental illness was strongly recommended to stop (both in person and over social media). This was due to the potential impact of employers or parents of pupils finding out about this regarding their prospective teacher and the resulting fallout. This situation and having schizophrenia made me feel extremely anxious as I felt that I was going to be discovered any minute of the day. This was a major factor into why I left the course and why I do not want to go back to university.”