Mental illness stigma leads many to hide their condition, study says

A new RAND study of Californians who have experienced psychological distress finds most would rather conceal their condition than face what they say are high levels of discrimination and prejudice.

More than two-thirds of those RAND surveyed say the stigma associated with mental illness would cause them to hide a mental health condition from co-workers and classmates. And more than one in three polled say they’d withhold such information from family members.

RAND developed and conducted the survey to assist the California Mental Health Services Administration (CalMSHA) in creating programs to improve the state’s residents’ mental well-being.  More than 1,000 Californians with some level of psychological distress were polled.

The study found nine out of 10 experienced discrimination, from family, friends, co-workers, health providers or law enforcement. It also found one in five surveyed might delay treatment for mental illness out of fear of someone finding out about their problem.

Still, about 70 percent of those surveyed said despite having a mental illness, they’re satisfied with life. They also said they believe recovery from mental illness is possible, and nearly all surveyed say they would be willing to seek treatment, if needed.

2 thoughts on “Mental illness stigma leads many to hide their condition, study says

  1. Thank you for the post! I hid my illness (paranoid schizophrenia) for twenty years. I just came out about six weeks ago. I wrote about coming out today as a guest blogger on another blog. This is a true, and terrible situation for so many people. For me, the timing of your post is excellent. A great read.


  2. This is very true and it happens here in the UK too. I had never struggled with mental health issues before my son passed away 5 months ago, now i’m in a whole different world. I started blogging, perhaps somewhere to organise my thoughts, but mostly so I could write my darkest thoughts and feelings in an open forum with no judging eyes. I’ve been very frank, and brutally honest, I see no reason to lie or hide the way I feel. There is so much stigma and taboo around mental health, but i’ve just found that I cannot wear that mask and hide it.

    Liked by 1 person

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