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Mental health stigma and discrimination are significant problems. Common coping orientations include: concealing mental health problems, challenging others and educating others. We describe the use of common stigma coping orientations and explain variations within a sample of English mental health service users.
Cross-sectional survey data were collected as part of the Viewpoint survey of mental health service users’ experiences of discrimination (n = 3005). Linear regression analyses were carried out to identify factors associated with the three stigma coping orientations.
The most common coping orientation was to conceal mental health problems (73%), which was strongly associated with anticipated discrimination. Only 51% ever challenged others because of discriminating behaviour, this being related to experienced discrimination, but also to higher confidence to tackle stigma.
Although stigma coping orientations vary by context, individuals often choose to conceal problems, which is associated with greater anticipated and experienced discrimination and less confidence to challenge stigma. The direction of this association requires further investigation.
In the field of stigma research, an area of interest is the coping strategies that mental health service users can use in response to discriminatory experiences. As a part of the evaluation of the Time to Change (TTC) anti-stigma programme, the Viewpoint telephone survey was run annually in order to assess service users' reported levels of discrimination and selected coping strategies. The study aim is to test the extent to which experience of TTC programme is a positive predictor of selected coping strategies.
Telephone interview surveys carried out by peer interviewers were conducted annually. ‘Educating others’ and ‘challenging’ coping strategies were assessed alongside anticipated and experienced discrimination.
During 2011–2014, 3903 mental health service users were interviewed. Participants more often adopted the ‘educating others’ strategy (2.31 ± 0.01) than the ‘challenging’ strategy (2.15 ± 0.02) (p < 0.001). On the other hand, those who participated in campaign activities endorsed ‘challenging’ more frequently than people who were not aware of TTC (2.78 ± 1.23 v. 2.09 ± 1.08, p < 0.001). According to the multi-variate linear regression model, we found that being actively involved in TTC activities (OR = 0.74, CI: 0.29–1.19; p < 0.05), having a diagnosis of a depressive disorder (OR = 0.20, CI: 0.04–0.36; p < 0.05) or personality disorder (OR = 0.23, CI: 0.04–0.43; p < 0.05) were good predictors of endorsing a ‘challenging’ strategy even after adjusted for confounding variables.
A positive relationship between participating in the TTC programme and using the ‘challenging’ strategy was found. There is still a need to disentangle the complex association between these two coping strategies and the role of anti-stigma campaigns, promoting further local activities led by service users and carers' as well as all others stakeholders' associations.
This study builds on existing research on the prevalence and consequences of mental illness discrimination by investigating and quantifying the relationships between experienced discrimination and costs of healthcare and leisure activities/social participation among secondary mental health service users in England.
We use data from the Mental Illness-Related Investigations on Discrimination (MIRIAD) study (n = 202) and a subsample of the Viewpoint study (n = 190). We examine experiences of discrimination due to mental illness in the domains of personal relationships, community activities, and health care, and how such experienced discrimination relates to patterns of service use and engagement in leisure activities.
Our findings show that the cost of health services used for individuals who reported previous experiences of discrimination in a healthcare setting was almost twice as high as for those who did not report any discrimination during the last 12 months (Relative Risk: 1.73; 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 1.39, 2.17) and this was maintained after controlling for symptoms and functioning. Experienced discrimination in healthcare (Relative Risk: 0.83; 95% CI: 0.81, 0.84) or in relationships (Relative Risk: 0.89; 95% CI: 0.87, 0.91), however, was associated with lower participation in, and hence lower costs of, leisure activities. Individuals who reported any discrimination in a healthcare setting had, on average, £434 higher costs associated with health service use while reported discrimination in the community was associated with increased leisure costs of £32.
These findings make an important initial step towards understanding the magnitude of the costs of mental health-related discrimination.
Discrimination against people with severe mental illness is an international problem. It is associated with reduced social contact and hinders recovery. This paper aims to evaluate if experienced or anticipated discrimination is associated with social capital, a known correlate of mental health.
Data from the annual viewpoint cross-sectional survey of people with severe mental illness (n = 1016) were analysed. Exploratory univariate analysis was used to identify correlates of social capital in the sample, which were then evaluated in linear regression models. Additional hypotheses were tested using t tests.
Experienced discrimination made a modest contribution to the explained variance of social capital. Experienced discrimination from friends and immediate family was associated with reduced access to social capital from these groups, but this was not found for wider family, neighbours or mental health staff. Experience of discrimination in finding or keeping a job was also associated with reduced access to social capital.
Further longitudinal research is needed to determine how resources within people's networks can help to build resilience, which reduces the harmful effect of discrimination on mental health.