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.
Graham Thornicroft is Professor of Community Psychiatry, and Head of the multi-disciplinary Health Service Research Department at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London. He is a Consultant Psychiatrist and is Director of Research and Development at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. He chaired the External Reference Group for the National Service Framework for Mental Health in England. His areas of research expertise include: stigma and
discrimination, mental health needs assessment, the development of outcome scales, cost-effectiveness evaluation of mental health treatments, and service user and consumer participation in mental health research. He is the author of 19 books and over 160 scientific papers.