Mentally ill 'Suffer Discrimination'
People with mental health problems suffer discrimination from family, friends and health professionals, according to a report published by the Pull Yourself Together Magazine Tuesday.
The report, issued to mark Health Action Week, asked people with experience of mental health problems to reveal what kind of discrimination they had suffered or witnessed.
The report said that seventy per cent of those questioned said they had experienced discrimination in response to their own mental distress, or that of a friend or relative.
Nearly a fifth of people felt that they could not tell those around them about their mental health problems.
"Some also reported that their relatives and friends had attributed physical health problems to symptoms of mental illness," the report added.
Many people had received unhelpful or damaging advice from relatives, such as "pull yourself together", the report said.
Other sufferers said they were thought to be acting, or were considered stupid or unreliable.
Three-quarters of respondents said they would not disclose mental health problems on application forms for jobs for fear of discrimination. More than half would not tell their work colleagues.
The magazine quoted director of the Medical Health Foundation Ruth Lesirge as saying "the report highlighted the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems, and also raised serious questions about the role of the relatives and friends."
"It is the doctor who can ensure that you receive appropriate services and treatment. If people are experiencing discrimination or are being told to 'Pull yourself together', then their chances of accessing good support are diminished, she concluded.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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