September 10, World Suicide Prevention Day

Survey shows many still struggle to talk about mental health issues

Leitrim Observer Reporter

Reporter:

Leitrim Observer Reporter

Hope that mental health unit will open in 2019

Ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day, on Sunday, September 10, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services has revealed that Irish attitudes to mental health difficulties are still fraught with stigma and negativity.

St Patrick’s Mental Health Services’ annual attitude survey, which questioned a nationally representative sample of 500 adults, has revealed that many Irish people still struggle to discuss mental health difficulties.

Despite the fact that 28% of respondents had previously been treated for a mental health difficulty themselves and 44% reported having a family member who had been previously treated for mental health difficulties, the survey revealed;

  • 38% would not tell their partner if they were taking anti-depressants
  • 36% would not tell their partner if their child was being treated for depression
  • 25% would tell no one if they were experiencing suicidal thoughts
  • 25% would tell no one if they had previously been an inpatient for a mental health difficulty and only just over half (55%) would tell a partner
  • 64% believe that being treated for a mental health difficulty is seen as a sign of personal failure.
     

Paul Gilligan, CEO of St Patrick’s, said,  “We know that one of the biggest barriers to seeking help for a mental health difficulty is stigma and year on year we are disappointed to find that despite the many public awareness campaigns being run, Irish attitudes to mental health are still fraught with stigma and negativity. Ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day this Sunday it is essential that we emphasise the importance of not letting stigma stand in the way of seeking help when in distress. Recovery from mental health difficulties is not just possible but should be expected with the right support and help.”

Other findings from the survey include;

  • 44% would not trust someone who experienced post-natal depression to babysit
  • 23% would not willingly marry someone previously hospitalised with depression
  • 19% said they would not be entirely comfortable living next door to someone who is bi-polar
  • 29% do not think someone who experiences panic attacks could be head of a company.
  • 73% believe society views those who receive in-patient care for mental health difficulties differently
  • 39% felt the public should be better protected from people with mental health problems
  • 31% would not feel comfortable explaining to their boss that they need time off due to a mental health difficulty
  • 60% of people are afraid that they will experience a mental health difficulty in the future
  • 70% of respondents believe that mental health isn’t talked about enough in the media