These were some key points from the report:
- People are broadly sympathetic towards people with a mental illness.
- However, some attitudes towards people with mental illness are worse compared to when the Department of Health first commissioned the poll in 1994 whilst a number have improved. Several attitudes that had worsened over the period up until 1997 have since improved.
- Attitudes to a number of statements have changed between 2009 and 2010.
- Opinions on some statements changed towards greater tolerance, for example:
- ‘Locating mental health facilities in a residential area downgrades the neighbourhood’ - agreement with this statement decreased from 21% to 18%.
- Some opinions moved more in favour of integrating people with mental illness into the community, for example: ‘Residents have nothing to fear from people coming into their neighbourhood to obtain mental health services’ – agreement with this statement increased from 62% to 66%.
- On one item though, opinions moved less in favour of integration: ‘Mental hospitals are an outdated means of treating people with mental illness’ – agreement with this statement fell from 37% in 2009 to 33% in 2010.
Broadly, it seems that more people are in favor of integrating mental health facilities and treatment centres into the community, indicating that many feel that these places should not be ‘hidden’ from the public eye. However, this differs with one statement indicating that about 2/3 of respondents feel that mental hospitals are not outmoded facilities for treating mental illness. Opinions appear to differ over just how much interaction should be permitted between those receiving treatment for mental health issues and those who are not. I feel that the ultimate effect of this study is that it gives us a guideline by which to evaluate our own personal attitudes towards mental health, along with affirming the mission and aims of organizations like SRSH.
[To read the full report, go to: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsStatistics/DH_114795]