The stigma of mental illness, like racism, has “no place in a civilised society”, the government’s mental health tsar said this week.
Louis Appleby, the national director for mental health, told the international conference on mental health discrimination that “unthinking discrimination” against people with mental health problems “still seems to be socially acceptable”. But it had long been recognised that racism was unacceptable, he said.
Appleby told Community Care his speech was a signal that tackling stigma was going to be a key theme in the government’s mental health strategy over the next few years, along with tackling race inequality and promoting talking therapies.
He dismissed suggestions that the government’s anti-stigma programme, Shift, was underfunded, saying opposing stigma was central to the work of all mental health services.
Appleby said a decision on the budgets for Shift and the talking therapy pilots was expected soon.