Living with mental health problems

Making friends, holding down a job, keeping fit, staying healthy… these are all normal everyday parts of life. But the stigma that surrounds mental illness makes all these things harder for people who have mental health problems.


Stigma isolates people

People often find it hard to tell others about a mental health problem they have, because they fear the reaction. And when they do speak up, the overwhelming majority say they are misunderstood by family members, shunned and ignored by friends, work colleagues and professionals or called names or worse by neighbours.

Psychiatric patients are four times more likely than the average not to have a close friend and more than a third say they have no one to turn to for help.


It excludes people from day-to-day activities

Everyday activities like going shopping, going to the pub, going on holiday or joining a club are far harder for people with mental health problems.

What’s more, about a quarter of people with a mental illness have been refused by insurance or finance companies, making it hard to travel, own property or run a business.


It stops people getting and keeping jobs

People with mental health problems have the highest ‘want to work’ rate of any disability group – but have the lowest in-work rate.

One third report having been dismissed or forced to resign from their job and 70% have been put off applying for jobs, fearing unfair treatment.




It prevents people seeking help

We know that when people first experience a mental health problem they tend not to seek help early and tend to come into contact with mental health services only when a crisis has developed. This also means there are many people with mental health problems who receive no treatment or care.


It has a negative impact on physical health

We know that people with mental health problems tend to have poorer than average physical health and, as a result, people with the most severe mental health problems die on average ten years younger.

Almost half of people with mental health problems report discrimination from GPs who think physical problems are being imagined or made up.


It delays treatment and impairs recovery

Not seeking help early means that recovery can be more difficult. People with mental health problems often report that they are not listened to by health professionals and feel unable to request changes to their treatment.

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