Lyons, Christina, Hopley, P. and Horrocks, J.
A decade of stigma and discrimination in mental health:plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose (the more things change, the more they stay the same).
Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 16
In recent years, efforts to combat stigma and discrimination experienced by mental health service users have ranged from small local initiatives to national and international campaigns. Success has been mixed, with significant, lasting benefits appearing to be elusive. This paper explores the current nature and extent of stigma and discrimination in an area of the north of England and compares findings with those from a study undertaken a decade previously in 1997. Qualitative responses to a postal questionnaire received in 2007 were thematically analysed and compared and contrasted with findings from the 1997 study. Four broad categories of discrimination – (1) employment; (2) professional; (3) communities; and (4) family and friends – arose from the 2007 data, the most common being discrimination in employment. There were close similarities in both sets of data. Stigma and discrimination remain largely as strong, damaging and enduring as they were a decade ago. A range of pre-emptive interventions that support people prior to the escalation of mental health crises could limit the impact of stigma.