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16 September 2010

Mental illness still a stigma

The level of prejudice and discrimination toward people with serious mental illness or substance abuse problems has not changed over 10 years, a new study has found.

The level of prejudice and discrimination toward people with serious mental illness or substance abuse problems didn't change over 10 years, a new study has found.

She and her colleagues compared the attitudes of people in 1996 and 2006. During this period, there was a major push to make Americans more aware of the genetic and medical explanations for conditions such as depression, schizophrenia and substance abuse.

  • The number of participants who attributed major depression to neurobiological causes was 54% in 1996 and 67% in 2006.
  • There was an increase in the proportion of participants who supported treatment from a doctor, and more specifically from a psychiatrist, for treatment of alcohol dependence (from 61% in 1996 to 79% in 2006) and major depression (from 75% in 1996 to 85% in 2006).
  • People who believed that mental illness and substance abuse had neurobiological causes were more likely to be in favour of providing treatment. But these people were no less likely to stigmatise patients with mental illness or substance abuse problems.

 
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