Neville calls for de-stigmatisation of mental illnesses

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Deputy Dan Neville
Deputy Dan Neville

FINE Gael TD for Limerick and President of the Irish Association of Suicidology, Dan Neville, has today said that despite improvement in recent years, there is still significant stigmatising of mental illnesses such as psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.

Speaking in Estonia, where he is attending the 15th European Symposium on Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour, Deputy Neville commented, “Every year 600 people in Ireland die from suicide and every year over 800,000 people almost die from suicide worldwide. The number of lives lost each year through suicide exceeds the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined.”

“We all experience varying degrees of mental health. These are the normal ups and downs of life. Yet while physical wellbeing is rightly prioritised as one of the fundamentals of life, our mental wellbeing or otherwise often takes a back seat,” he claimed.

“Like many physical conditions, the experience of mental ill health is unique to the individual and depends on the type of illnesses such as psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. Many people are still unnerved by the idea of mental ill health and there has traditionally been a reluctance to discuss mental illness in our society.”

“People who live with illnesses such as psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression are often marked out as being different from the rest of society. This is not the case and the key to changing this perception is to de-stigmatise these illnesses. Despite improvement in recent years, there is still significant stigmatising of mental illness as evidenced by surveys completed by Amnesty International and St. Patricks University Hospital, Dublin,” said Deputy Neville.

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