Mental health stigma and discrimination is a global phenomenon, with severe consequences in terms of social exclusion and inequitable treatment towards people with experience of mental health conditions.
The impacts of stigma range from reducing engagement with clinical services (barriers to seeking help), less clinical care, including biases in healthcare provider behaviour in relation to people with mental health conditions. Forms of social exclusion may also appear in marriage, partnerships and a wide range of interpersonal relationships including harming occupational prospects in the workplace. Attitudes towards mental health also vary amongst ethnicities, cultures and countries which can further impact barriers to seeking help. This inequitable treatment often amounts to the denial of basic human rights that are the hallmarks of personhood.
The time is now right for a detailed reappraisal of this field which will be initiated through The Lancet Commission on Stigma and Discrimination in Mental Health. The Commission will set out practical and radical recommendations to guide action at international, national and local levels with the overarching aim of eradicating mental health related stigma and discrimination.
With health being a human right and mental health no less important than physical health, the Commission will forcefully argue for the right to good mental health outcomes for all. The Commission aims to produce sustained resources to eradicate stigma and discrimination related to mental health conditions, all as core elements of what it means to live in a civilised world.