This blog is the 4th in a series, based on work completed for my mental health studies.  This describes some of the social and cultural attitudes to mental illness, including referencing to discrimination and stereotyping.

Although there has been positive moves to highlight mental health, including mental ill health, there is still a lot of social stigma, leading to stereotyping and discrimination.

The inclusion of care in the community and Government policies, as well as charity awareness, is helping the population to understand there are mental health concerns.  There is still a lot of mis-information and poor education about even the basics of stress, depression, and anxiety.  These conditions are not being taught in schools let alone other community groups.

Poor education means there is still stigma and fear about mental ill health, resulting in social stigma, stereotyping and discrimination.  Whilst there remains to be these stigmas attached to mental ill health, people with poor mental health will continue to struggle to talk about their feelings and their health, continuing to isolate themselves.

Poor education about mental ill health tends to result in negative behaviour towards the sufferer, often in the form of physical and emotional bullying.  Negative behaviours have an impact on other poorly educated people when they generalise about mental health, usually in a negative and incorrect ways (ie, all those with mental health concerns are mad, unpredictable, violent, drunk/drugged etc). Naturally, this can further isolate the person suffering.

Whilst many people still remain uneducated about mental health, stigmas will still be attached to employers and employees. Employers are still being reluctant to employ people diagnosed with mental ill health, and/or may not have policies in place for other workers to help understand and include the person.  This is a form of discrimination and further isolation can still result. 

On the whole, all the above can lead to discrimination and people are driven to further isolation, reducing still their self-esteem and confidence.   There is still a lot of work to do to be able to see positive change and a positive future.

Tracey at PlumEssence has been teaching about mental health in workshops, since 2016.  Tracey is a Mental Health First Aider and therapist and teaches Mental Health Awareness and First Aid for Mental Health accredited courses.  The courses are available for the general public, to community groups and in the workplace.  Details about the courses and workshops can be found