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Ending Stigma

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Those people with mental illness suffer stigma and a lot of discrimination in Ireland. They are treated like second class citizens. They are slandered, gossiped about, judged, condemned, belittled, ridiculed, and mocked, harassed, intimidated and asaulted by many people in Irish society. They are also regularly deprived of their legal and human rights and the right to justice.

Stigma poisons all relationships and communications between people. It breeds hatred and mistrust. It is usually found in the ignorant, the superstitious and the uneducated. It destroys the respect which is due to a person in society. Stigma is enforced through backbiting, gossiping, faultfinding, belittling, aggression and social exclusion, including the deliberate ruining of jobs, careers, participation in sports, voluntary bodies and organisations, socialising, friendships, relationships, and marriages. This is a big problem in Irish society. And when disabled people challenge the people stigmatising them, they are often verbally abused, threatened, mocked and in some cases they are assaulted.

Stigma, prejudices, discrimination, and social exclusion is something which the HSE, the mental health services, the government, state bodies, and the legal system has failed to deal with. This failure is serious and needs to be acknowledged and rectified.

There are some new initiatives designed to rectify this social problem :