The NHS Information Centre has published a report that presents the findings of a survey of attitudes towards mental illness among adults in England undertaken in 2011.
The questionnaire included a number of statements about mental illness. Respondents were asked to indicate how much they agreed or disagreed with each statement. Other questions covered a range of other topics including descriptions of people with mental illness, relationships with people with mental health problems, personal experience of mental illness, and perceptions of mental health-related stigma and discrimination.
The report highlighted some significant changes over time. Some key changes include:
- The percentage of people agreeing that ‘Mental illness is an illness like any other’ increased from 71% in 1994 (the first year this question was asked) to 77% in 2011, although this figure is little changed in recent years.
- The percentage saying they would be comfortable talking to a friend or family member about their mental health, for example telling them they had a mental health diagnosis and how it affects them, rose from 66% in 2009 (the first year the question was asked) to 70% in 2011.
- The percentage saying they would feel uncomfortable talking their employer about their mental health was 43%, compared to 50% in 2010 (the first year this question was asked)
In addition, other results for 2011 include:
- 25% of respondents agreed that ‘Most women who were once patients in a mental hospital can be trusted as babysitters’.
- Agreement that one of the main causes of mental illness is a lack of self-discipline and will-power stands at 16%.
- The percentage of people saying that locating mental health facilities in a residential area downgrades the neighbourhood stood at 17%.
Attitudes to mental illness: 2011 survey report. NHS Information Centre, 8 June 2011.