Nearly nine out of 10 people with mental health problems have been affected by stigma and discrimination, which has prevented many from applying for jobs, a new survey has revealed.
National mental health charity Rethink surveyed more than 3,000 people with mental health problems.
The survey also found that many carers of people with mental illnesses also stopped doing everyday things – such as making new friends and going out to pubs and shops – because of the stigma and discrimination they face.
The survey findings will help shape an £18m mental health anti-stigma campaign, “Moving People”, led by Mental Health Media, Mind and Rethink.
The survey also revealed that people with mental health problems would like the campaign to target schools and the media to change attitudes and reduce prejudice.
Paul Corry, Rethink’s director of public affairs, said: “Our research clearly shows that stigma and discrimination are ruining people’s lives.
“People with mental health problems have enough on their plates without facing additional pressure caused by other people’s archaic and bigoted opinions.
“The Moving People anti-stigma campaign will lay firm foundations for ending mental health discrimination in the UK, but long term it is essential that the government ploughs hefty resources into tackling the problem, as has been done in Scotland and New Zealand.
“As an employer, the government could also lead by example and employ more people with mental health problems within its departments, and encourage other public sector bodies to do the same.”
The anti-stigma campaign will be launched in January 2009.