Shunned: Discrimination against people with mental illness by Graham Thornicroft (Head, Health Service Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and Consultant Psychiatrist, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust)
People with mental illness commonly describe the stigma and discrimination they face as being worse than their main condition. Discrimination can pervade every part of their daily life - their personal life, working life, sense of citizenship, their ability to maintain even a basic standard of living. Though things have certainly improved in the past 50 years, discrimination against the mentally ill is still a major problem throughout the world. It can manifest itself in subtle ways, such as the terminology used to describe the person or their illness, or in more obvious ways - by the way the mentally ill might be treated and deprived of basic human rights. Should we just accept such discrimination as deeply rooted and resistant to change, or is this something that we can collectively change if we understand and commit ourselves to tackling the problem? Shunned presents clearly for a wide readership information about the nature and severity of discrimination against people with mental illness and what can be done to reduce this. The book features many quotations from people with mental illness showing how this has affected their home, personal, social, and working life. After showing, both from personal accounts and from a thorough review of the literature, the nature of discrimination, the book sets out a clear manifesto for change. Written by a leading figure in mental health in a lively and accessible manner, the book presents a fascinating and humane portrayal of the problem of stigma and discrimination, and shows how we can work to reduce it.