The Mind Mental Health Survey.

I have often said in this blog how I think the problem of stigma is gradually improving. The national anti-stigma campaign Time to Change has itself reported a reduction in discriminatory behaviour, and an improvement in the knowledge and attitudes surrounding mental ill health. However, according to a recent survey by the mental health charity, Mind, the problem of stigma and also issues with mental health services seem to be very much alive and well.
In the survey people were asked to tell the charity what they thought the major issues surrounding mental ill health were. What emerged was a really quite disturbing picture of the state of both stigma and mental health services.
In terms of work, the survey reported that 1 in 4 people who tell their boss that they have a mental health problem end up either being sacked or forced to leave. 6 in 10 employers say that they wouldn't take on an employee with a mental health problem. Also, it was revealed that employees don't feel they can be honest about their mental health at work, with 93% of those surveyed saying that when they had taken time off due to stress they had lied to their boss about the real reason for their absence. 8 out of 10 directors said that their company had no policy for dealing with mental ill health in the workplace.
In terms of receiving benefits, it was reported that fraud rates for sickness benefits run at around 0.5%, but that despite this 87% of people on benefits said they were dealing with anxiety regarding changes to the system. 51% said that fear of reassessment had even led to suicidal thoughts, while it was found that more than 1 in 6 "fit for work" decisions are proved incorrect, with approximately 40% of people appealing decisions, and 40% of that number actually winning their appeal.
In terms of discrimination, the survey found that 9 out of 10 people say they have experienced stigma and discrimination in some form.
In terms of mental health services, the survey found that 1 in 5 people wait for over a year to receive talking therapy. 34% said that they didn't have a choice in what treatment they were given, and 44.5% were rarely or never involved in decisions about their own care.
In terms of crisis care, one million people a year use crisis and specialist mental health services, but bed numbers in mental health units continue to decline. And, investment in crisis teams, who provide intensive support at home, fell for the first time last year by 4.3%.
All in all, then, a worrying picture. The figures given regarding work, given my own current search for employment, I find particularly deflating. Also, with our own local mental health services currently being cut, and care either at home or on an acute ward seeming to be the only option left for service users, the figures regarding the state of mental health services do not give a promising impression. Add to that the sheer stress of the changes being wrought in the benefits system, and to me it appears you have a recipe for more illness but fewer resources to deal with it. One can only hope, then, that things improve, but with our current political incumbents and the atmosphere of intolerance towards those who are disabled and receiving benefits, things are not seeming to bode well.       


klahanie said…
Dear David,
This made for sobering reading. Sadly, further evidence we have a long ways to go to eradicate the stigma, the perceptions and misconceptions still surrounding mental health issues.
And this immoral government continues to pressurise, terrorise those who are sick, who are vulnerable.
You have noted how deflating your job search experience has been. Things are looking bleak. Thank goodness your ongoing mission via your blog, does not diminish in your determination to see a change for a fairer, more understanding future for those who would be stigmatised and yes, traumatised.
In peace and hope, Gary
Lost in Space said…
Interesting post, but so sad that such stigma still exists around mental health conditions. But I, like Gary, am glad that there are people out there doing what they can to reduce and hopefully eliminate this stigma. Keep up the good work, and I hope you find a job with a positive employer who doesn't use your diagnosis against you.
Dixie said…
Hi David.
What came to my mind as I was reading: "The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off." (Excuse the word choice...)

I have always strongly suspected that people fear what they don't understand. They fear the idea of being placed in a similar position. It's as if a person, who has a mental health issue, has the plague.

So if the survey in complete and accurate I predict more people in the future will come to the knowledge and understanding of the need for compassion.

As you wrote things are not what they used to be; though there is some progress in some areas.

I was saddened by the news article on "Remploy". The day the Paralympics opened they were closing a warehouse. The employees were very upset, some having worked there for 30 years. They held protests saying, "Disabled can play together, but not work together?"

Seems to me the worldly powers only want 'perfect people'. But I say: "Be careful what you ask for."

Okay, the fog is still with me, but I wanted to leave you a comment. Excellent post, David. Thank you so much!

David said…
Dear Gary,
Yes, it does seem that the government's impetus to reassess all those receiving disability benefits is traumatic for some. Unfortunately, it appears people's fears are not without validity, with many who are clearly unable to work being judged otherwise. I've said many times in this blog that I think this is grossly unfair, but as you say, I'll continue in my little mission to see a fairer, more understanding future for those stimatised and, indeed, traumatised.
Thanks, Gary.
Very Best Wishes,
David said…
Dear Lost in Space,
Thanks for the good wishes, and you can be sure I'll continue to do what I can to reduce the stigma. I hope you're OK yourself, and I'll bre popping over to your own blog soon.
Very Best Wishes,
David said…
Dear Dixie,
Thank you for your comment, and I love your little phrase about the truth.
I know you heard about the closing of the Remploy factory, as I read your comment on the Pathways site. Just one thing, Dixie, me and the writer of that particular posting wondered exactly how you managed to leave a comment, as we thought that you would have needed the username and password, which, as far as we know, only those in the Pathways Group have. Please could you let me know how you managed it!
Anyway, Very Best Wishes to you, and I hope the fog clears soon,
Dixie said…
Sure, David, here were the options, presented on that site, for commenting.

#1)"Log in" took me to a "Wordpress" box. I have a blog on Wordpress but chose not to use it.

#2) When I clicked on your comment box directly it prompted with three different options to sign in with, in order to comment: Wordpress, Twitter, and Facebook. I chose Facebook.

I am sorry if this has caused any problems or embarrassment to the Pathways Group; that wasn't my intention, David. It was such an excellent article, I felt the urge to respond.

I so hope all is well.
David said…
Dear Dixie,
Thanks for letting me know. And, you didn't cause any problems or embarrassment, we were just glad that someone had taken an interest and left such a nice comment!
Take care, Dixie.
Very Best Wishes,
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