My role


Stigma from family and friends increases suicide risk

A quarter of young people (26%) say that the stigma attached to their mental illness has made them want to give up on life. New statistics from mental health anti-stigma programme Time to Change also reveal that the biggest stigmatisers are friends and parents.

The survey was commissioned by Time to Change as it launches new anti-stigma work aimed at encouraging young people to help tackle the taboo surrounding mental health problems. A pilot project in the West Midlands will be launched in Birmingham.

Time for Change say one in ten children and young people will experience a mental health problem. The new research highlights that 27% of young people with mental health problems under the age of 25 say that the discrimination they face as a result has also made them give up on their life's ambitions and that much of the stigma that they face comes from those who you would expect to turn to first at a time of need including friends (70%), siblings (35%) and parents (57%).

Nasty rumours

Bryony Bratchell, aged 19 from Weymouth, said: 'The stigma that I have experienced because of my mental health problem has really affected my childhood in terms of friendships and relationships and in education and more recently at work. When I was first diagnosed at 14, I was automatically told by healthcare professionals to stop going to school because it was too stressful. At the same time my school also refused to allow me to return there once they knew I had a mental health problem. Then once I left I heard nasty rumours that people were spreading about me and even comments to my friends about stopping hanging out with me in case I might kill them. This has made it so hard to keep friends and make new ones. Thankfully I have made new friends through Time to Change as people here really understand me.'

Activities planned for the West Midlands include a social marketing campaign, an education programme co-delivered by young people with a mental illness and their parents, community events in the region, a grants fund for projects that bring young people with and without mental health problems together and engagement with organisations in the region that work with a youth audience.

Page created on July 2nd, 2012

Page updated on July 2nd, 2012