A diagnosis doesn't make a person

Focus areas

  • Most mental health problems begin when people are still in their youth. Almost eight percent of young people between the age of 15 and 25 have or have had a mental illness. This means that three students in each classroom deal with mental illness or serious mental difficulties.

  • Mental illness frequently causes people to leave the Danish labour market or prevents them from ever entering it. You will find part of the explanation for this in the prejudice, taboos and ignorance facing mental illness. Research carried out by SFI (The Danish National Centre for Social Research) indicates that Danes are much more reserved towards colleagues who suffer from mental illness than those with a physical ailment.
  • When you encounter prejudice and exclusion from social networks, education, labour market and leisure time activities, you will likely feel a greater degree of inferiority, insecurity and that the symptoms caused by your mental illness get worse. Therefore, you can consider stigma “an additional illness”, which can lead to self-stigmatisation, where you only find room for an identity that is tied to your diagnosis and the prejudice attached to it.
  • Much research shows that staff members within the health sector - the psychiatric sector included - do not differ from the general population when it comes to stigmatisation of those suffering from mental illness and their relatives. The staff members are in close contact with service users and their relatives, but they also manage a position of power. This allows them to wield great influence on the self-image of the service users. A negative self-image can lead to self-stigmatisation.

  • A lack of knowledge can be the direct cause of prejudice. The many sensation-focused stories in the media about individuals suffering from mental illness committing dangerous crimes against other persons maintain a one-sided and negative image.