The public have become more positive on some mental health issues but some less favourable opinions still exist, a survey from The NHS Information Centre (NHS IC) suggests today.
Findings from Attitudes to Mental Illness 2011, a survey carried out for the first time in England 17 years ago, suggest more people now view mental health as an illness like any other.
But less favourable views on some issues still exist – for example, one in six people believe a main cause of mental illness is lack of self discipline and will-power, about the same level as first reported in 1994.
Of the 1,741 adults interviewed in February and March 2011 for the survey:
* 77 per cent said ‘mental illness is an illness like any other' compared to 71 per cent in 1994.
* 70 per cent would be comfortable talking to their family and friends about their mental health, compared to 66 per cent in 2009 (the first year this question was asked)
* 43 per cent would be uncomfortable talking their employer about their mental health, compared to 50 per cent in 2010 (the first year this question was asked).
Despite this reported increase in positive views, some people surveyed hold a less favourable view of people with mental health issues:
* Only one in four would trust a woman who had ever been in a mental hospital to babysit a child.
* 17 per cent think having a mental health facility in a residential area downgraded the neighbourhood
* 16 per cent believe one of the main causes of mental illness is lack of self-discipline and will-power.
The NHS Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said: “This report paints a mixed picture of attitudes towards people with mental health issues, which may be of particular interest given the number of high-profile awareness campaigns and celebrity stories about this subject.
“While the percentage of people who would feel comfortable talking to a friend or family member about their mental health has increased in recent times, the report also highlights less favourable views that still exist in the population - for example, one in six people believe a main cause of mental illness is lack of self discipline and will-power, about the same level as first reported in 1994.”