Attitudes towards people with mental illness have got worse over
the last three years, research has revealed.
A survey commissioned by the Department of Health shows that
attitudes towards people with mental illness stayed the same
between 1993 and 2000 but became slightly worse between 2000 and
While 89 per cent of respondents agreed that society has a
responsibility to provide the mentally ill with the best possible
care, this number is lower than the 94 per cent who agreed in
Three quarters agreed that mental illness is an illness like any
other, but a fifth said that there was something about people with
mental illness that made it easy to tell them apart from other
Paul Corry, head of policy and campaigns at charity Rethink,
said that 630,000 people with a severe mental illness were being
put at risk of relapse and harm by negative public attitudes.
“It is no coincidence that the worsening of public
attitudes coincided with a series of government announcements
making the false link between mental illness, dangerousness and the
need for a new draconian mental health act,” he said.