Fighting Mental Health Stigma Needs Both ‘Carrot And Stick’ Approach

Mental health charity Rethink is calling on the government to use both a ‘carrot and stick’ approach with employers to tackle mental health stigma, following the launch of a national initiative that will provide guidance, advice and support to employers. The Department of Health initiative Action on Stigma includes a network of nine regional employment support teams to help support organisations.

Paul Corry, Rethink’s Director of Public Affairs, said: “Rethink welcomes this new support for employers to tackle mental health stigma in the workplace. However, government must match legal penalties for workplace discrimination with a powerful, sustained anti-discrimination campaign.

“We welcome the focus on tackling stigma in the NHS, because people tell us the attitudes of NHS and social care staff can often be the main cause of stigma. In particular, we need long-term investment in a campaign to tackle the stigma that surrounds severe mental illness. That stigma must be tackled if the Welfare Reform Bill, which is currently going through parliament, is to bring positive changes for people with mental health problems.

“Under this Bill, people with mental health problems on benefits will be penalised for not taking steps towards work. They are being asked to go through a locked door – Government must give them the key.”