What is mental ill-health?
‘Mental ill-health’ or ‘mental illness’ are terms used to describe a wide range of psychiatric illnesses, from anxiety and depression to eating disorders and schizophrenia.
Everyone has times in their life when they feel depressed, anxious, or under stress. For some people these feelings become so overwhelming they produce physical or behavioural symptoms that affect the person’s ability to go about their day to day life.
Mental ill-health can include problems with how people feel, think or behave. Mental illness is very common. Around one in four people in the UK will experience some kind of mental illness in their lifetime. Most people with mental illnesses can lead normal lives with the right treatment and support.
What is a learning disability?
There are many different types of learning disability and most develop before a baby is born, during birth or because of a serious illness in early childhood. A learning disability is lifelong and usually has a significant impact on a person’s life.
People with a learning disability find it harder than others to learn, understand and communicate. There are around 985,000 people with a learning disability in the UK. Like all of us, they are individuals who want different things in life and need different levels of support.
What is stigma?
Stigma is about beliefs and attitudes. It is based on negative views of people simply because they are seen as belonging to a particular group. Mental ill-health and learning disabilities are commonly associated with stigma and discrimination. The effects of stigma and discrimination include:
- Fear of members of the stigmatised group
- Verbal and physical abuse towards the stigmatised group
- Fear of disclosing information about mental ill-health and learning disabilities
- Reduced self-esteem and confidence among people with mental ill-health and
- People with mental ill-health and learning disabilities being isolated socially, which can
mean they are excluded from society
Everyone has the right to be treated equally. If somebody is treated differently just because they belong to a particular group they are being discriminated against.