Improving Lives of People Suffering From Mental Health

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Improving Lives of People Suffering From Mental Health

Improving Lives of People Suffering From Mental Health


People suffering from mental health are normally discriminated, thus stigma generates their feelings of low self-esteem, shame, hopelessness and isolation with their experience becoming complex after being diagnosed with mental illness. This denies people with mental illness an opportunity to live quality life by robbing their rightful opportunities in healthcare, housing, relationships and work. This adversely affects their quality of life. Therefore, if I had the authority to change the lives of people suffering from mental illness in a positive way, I will make changes to the following issues that directly impact the quality of people suffering from mental health:

Change in public health priority

People with mental illness experience more risks to their physical health. As a result, they die 15-20 years earlier than the general population (Thornicroft, et al 2009). On the other hand, people who suffer from mental health have higher risk of suffering from other health conditions such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. This scenario can be associated with poor long-term physical health and unemployment associated with mentally ill persons. In order to improve and maintain good physical health of people with mental illness, there is need for change in public health priority aimed at improving the country’s health policies as well as addressing various inequalities. This will enable the public health system to achieve ‘public health parity’ for mental health. The change in public health priority will ensure that people living with or recovering from mental health challenges are supported, encouraged and facilitated to improve their physical health and quality of life. Thus, it will help in addressing the shocking discrepancies in life expectancy experienced by people with mental illness through equal access to improved public healthcare services.

Reducing stigma and discrimination

Stigma is a form of social distancing whereby people are reluctant to associate or relate with a person suffering from mental health. Stigma and discrimination for people who suffer from mental health results in reduced self-esteem as well as robbing persons of their social opportunities such as employment, healthcare services or accommodation due to their illness (Corrigan, 2004). Besides discrimination from the general public, people suffering from mental illness tend to suffer from internalized discrimination (also known as self-discrimination) whereby people who suffer from mental health turn the stereotypes about mental illness adopted by the public towards themselves creating the sense of social rejection as they believe they are of lesser value in the society leading to social isolation and withdrawal (Livingston and Boyd, 2010). On the other hand, people with mental health problems face workplace discrimination as well as when they are applying for these jobs. People with mental health problems are treated differently by their colleagues at workplace with some going through ridicule, demotion and bullying.  Thus, the quality of lives of people who suffer from mental health is adversely affected as stigma and discrimination can be a hindrance to seeking early treatment thus hindering recovery. In light of this, if I had authority to improve the quality of lives of people who suffer from mental health, I would fund programmes aimed at eliminating/reducing stigma and discrimination for people with mental health. This will provide equal opportunities in healthcare, housing, relationships and work/employment to all people regardless of their mental condition. This will go a long way in improving the quality of lives of people suffering from mental health as they will have equal access to quality healthcare, housing and working conditions enabling them to live better lives.

Social network/social inclusion

People with mental health problems are socially excluded in many areas. For instance, people who suffer from mental health have higher probability to be in debts, have challenges in accessing insurance and other financial services as well as inequalities in healthcare treatment. In order to improve the lives of people with mental health problems I will emphasize and promote social inclusion aimed at promoting subjective mental health and quality of lives thus minimizing the economic and social burden and consequences of mental health problems. This will involve incorporating mental health outcomes and indicators in the collection of national, regional and local strategic policy outcomes; and assessing economic and social policy with respect to its future impact on mental well-being. This can be realized through bringing immediate economic savings at the cost of future health and economic productivity since supported employment (realized through social inclusion) is superior to prevocational training programmes in attaining competitive employment for people with mental health problems (Marcotte & Wilcox-Gok, 2001).

Routes to recovery

Lastly, if I had the authority to change the lives of people who suffer from mental health in a positive way, I would enhance and improve routes to recovery through employment and meaningful activities. This would encompass making social welfare benefit systems as flexible as possible in order to provide incentives for people with mental health to see work. This is crucial as work is fundamental in the recovery process. Some of the major actions I will champion include provision of supported employment initiatives which are more effective than traditional vocational rehabilitation schemes, supporting and encouraging social firms organized by people who once lived with mental illness as well as training employment service staff to better understand the needs of people with mental health need and encourage that they be given first priority.


In summary, people who suffer from mental health problems experience difficulties of life as a result of discrimination while seeking healthcare and employment opportunities. Hence, they lead poor quality lives. As a result, I have discussed the various changes I will make aimed at improving their lives. These changes include reducing stigma and discrimination, social inclusion, change in public health priority as well as routes to recovery changes.



Corrigan P., (2004). How Stigma interferes with mental health care. The American Psychologist; 59(7), 614-625.

Livingston JD and Boyd J., (2010. Correlates and consequences of internalized stigma for people living with mental health: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Social Science and Medicine: 7; 2150-2161.

Marcotte DE, Wilcox-Gok V., (2001). Estimating the employment and earnings costs of mental illness: Recent developments in the United States. Social Science & Medicine, 53 (1) 21-27.

Thornicroft, G., Brohan, E., Rose, D., Sartorius, N., Leese, M., & Indigo, S. G., (2009). Global pattern of experienced and anticipated discrimination against people with schizophrenia: a cross-sectional survey”, Lancet, vol. 373, no. 9661, pp. 408-415.

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