The Lancet Commission to End Stigma and Discrimination in Mental Health says that about one billion people around the world live with mental health conditions. He says. This is one out of every eight people in the world. People with mental health problems and their families all over the world face stigma and are treated badly because of it. On October 10, which was World Mental Health Day, the Lancet Commission released a report with key suggestions for ending stigma and discrimination against people with mental health problems.
The report says that one in seven people ages 10 to 19 has a mental health condition.
When someone has a mental health problem, they face a double threat. One threat comes from the effects of mental health conditions, and the other comes from the bad effects that stigma and discrimination have on people’s lives.
During the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a rise in depression and anxiety.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, more people have become aware of how important mental health is around the world. Depression and anxiety were thought to have become 25% more common during the first year of the pandemic.
What kinds of problems do people with mental health issues have in their social lives?
Even though a lot of people all over the world have mental health problems, stigma and discrimination are common when it comes to mental health. Since mental health problems are seen as taboo, people who have them are often looked down on or denied basic human rights like jobs, education, and access to health care, which includes mental health care.
What is it that the Commission wants?
The work of more than 50 people from all over the world, including people who have had mental health problems, has been put together by the Lancet Commission. The Commission has stories and poems from people who have been through it, and it looks at the evidence about what works to reduce stigma around mental health.
The commission wants governments, international organizations, employers, healthcare providers, the media, and people who have been stigmatized or discriminated against because of their mental health to act right away and work together to end stigma and discrimination.
In a statement published by The Lancet, Commission co-chair Professor Sir Graham Thornicroft said that many people who have lived with mental health conditions say that the stigma is “worse than the condition itself.” He also said that there is no clear evidence that researchers know how to reduce stigma and discrimination and eventually get rid of them. He also said that the Commission makes eight recommendations for how to help millions of people around the world who are socially isolated, treated unfairly, or have their human rights violated because of stigma. These recommendations are based on facts and are both practical and radical.
Covid-19 has caused a rise in the number of people with mental health problems.
Charlene Sunkel, a co-author of the report, said in the statement that the covid-19 pandemic has led to a rise in the number of people with mental health problems and that urgent action is needed to make sure these people don’t face potentially serious effects of stigma and discrimination. She also said that people who have lived experience with mental health conditions should be given the tools and support they need to take an active role in efforts to reduce stigma.
How discrimination goes against basic human rights
Stigma about mental health comes in many different forms. Stigma has a lot of effects that people don’t think about enough. The Lancet Commission looked at the evidence about how stigma and discrimination affect mental health and also did its own survey of people with mental health conditions from more than 40 countries around the world. According to the report, people who have had mental health problems in the past often face stigma and discrimination, which hurts their basic human rights in all areas of life. This makes you feel worse mentally.
For example, because of the stigma and discrimination they face in school and the workplace, people with mental health problems often have less money and fewer job opportunities.
Other problems that people with mental health issues have to deal with
Especially in low- and middle-income countries, mental health problems and poverty have bad effects when they happen together. The report says that some people with mental health problems don’t have the right to vote, get married, or inherit property.
A big problem is that doctors and nurses don’t always know how to diagnose and treat people with mental health problems in the best way. Also, the life expectancy of people with mental health problems is lower than that of the rest of the population. The average amount spent on mental health is two percent of the total amount spent on health. Unlike most physical health problems, most health insurance plans do not cover mental health problems at all.
One of the report’s authors, Zeinab Hijazi, said that stigma and discrimination affect everyone with a mental health condition, but it’s especially important to recognize how young people and their caregivers are affected. One in seven people ages 10 to 19 has a mental health condition, and too many young people around the world still have a hard time because people don’t understand mental health and don’t accept it.
Stigma can be lessened by talking to other people.
The analysis done by the Commission shows that social contact, both in person and over the phone, between people who have lived experience with mental health conditions and those who have not, is the most effective, evidence-based way to reduce stigma and discrimination. The Commission also says that people with mental health problems need strong support to lead or co-lead interventions that use social contact to reduce stigma and discrimination.
Dr. Petr Winkler, Director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Research and Development of Public Mental Health Services in the Czech Republic, said that the Commission found that social contact, in which people with mental health problems shared their experiences with people who did not have these problems, helped reduce stigma when it was adapted to different contexts and cultures. He also said that the world needs to see more organized social contact between people with and without lived experience of mental health conditions to end stigma and discrimination.