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Dignity in Mental Health

With the onset of World Mental Health Day, Ieso's Clinical Lead, Sarah Bateup, discusses ‘Dignity in Mental Health’. Ensuring Dignity in Mental Health

World Mental Health Day is on Saturday 10th October, hosted by the World Federation of Mental Health. This year the federation has chosen “Dignity in Mental Health” as the theme, with the aim of ensuring that people with mental health problems can live with dignity. Most of us will take living with dignity for granted, but many people with mental health issues around the world are denied their dignity.

What is dignity?

Dignity is a person’s inherent value and worth. It encompasses their right to respect, recognition, and the ability to make their own choices in life. Living with dignity means that an individual is valued as a member of society, and is free from discrimination, violence and abuse.

Unfortunately, many people with mental health conditions are not treated with dignity. They may be stigmatised, discriminated against, ostracised from society or subjected to physical, sexual and emotional abuse. People with mental health issues may be denied access to mental health care, deprived of the right to make decisions for themselves, and lack education and employment opportunities.

When those with mental health issues are not treated with dignity, it can worsen their condition and lead to further anguish. It is estimated that one in four adults and one in ten children in the UK are likely to have mental health problems in any given year. While people with mental health issues in the UK are very rarely subjected to abuse, the stigma around mental health issues could mean that they are discriminated against and ostracised, which can lead to a number of issues:

  • Low confidence
  • Low self-esteem
  • Withdrawal
  • Social Isolation
  • Marginalisation

What can be done to ensure dignity in mental health?

In the community

People with mental health problems are often mistreated due to misconceptions around mental illness, so raising awareness of mental health in general is necessary to improve the lives of those with mental health issues.

Educating people on the subject of mental health helps to break down barriers and enables those without mental health issues to understand the conditions better. Once people understand mental health issues, they will be better equipped to support, respect and include those who do have them.

In health care

It is estimated that only a quarter of people with a mental health problem in the UK receive ongoing treatment. Support and care for people with mental health conditions helps them to deal with their issues and can assist them on the road to recovery.

To ensure dignity in health care, those with mental health issues should be given the right to choose their own treatment. There are a number of varying therapy options that may or may not work for individuals, and each person will know what works best for them.

Group therapy, one-to-one therapy sessions and discreet online therapy have proven to improve mental health and speed up recovery in a dignified and respectful environment.

In an emergency
Call 111 - if you urgently need medical help or advice but it is not a life threatening situation
Call 999 - if you or anyone else is in immediate danger or harm
Call the Samaritans 24 hours a day on 116 123