Mental Health – Is It Still a Taboo Topic?

Of those asked in a recent study, commissioned by the Scottish Government, almost 50% of individuals said they would not want other people to know if they had a mental health problem. This is as the study revealed that more than 25% of participants have experienced mental health problems.

The most common condition reported was depression. Respondents to the study revealed that 40% of them experienced some negative social impact of their mental health.

This suggest that “unfortunately there is still some stigma surrounding mental health,” to quote Michael Matheson Public Health Minister

This study was commissioned to find out how attitudes are changing over time and builds on previous surveys.

Of the 26% who had experienced a mental health condition, 22% said they had avoided a social event because they were scared of how they would be treated, while 13% said they had been discouraged from attending by someone else.

Linking this back to the previous results, there is a mixed message, but overall it appears that the last 6 years has not seen a positive change in attitude towards mental health.

This survey shows us that;

‘A total of 85% had talked to someone about their mental health problem - a fall compared with the 88% of people who said they had discussed it with someone else in 2008.

In 2008, 44% of people said they would not want anyone to know if they were suffering from a mental health problem. In the most recent survey, this figure increased slightly to 47%.

A total of 37% of people had also experienced negative social impact resulting from their mental health - an increase on the 2008 figure of 23%.

Of the 1,500 people surveyed, 22% said they would not be willing to interact with someone with schizophrenia.’

There are organisations out there tackling mental health stigma and discrimination though, the See Me group are just one of them funded by the Scottish Government.

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said: "The best way to start to deal with a mental health problem is to talk about it. Also, if more people talk about their problems this will help to spread greater understanding and tolerance.

"This could be talking it through with a friend or family member, or going to your GP. There are treatments available that will help you to deal with your problems."