Experiences of discrimination among people using mental health services in England 2008–2011

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Research suggests that levels of discrimination against people using mental health services are high; however, reports of these people's experiences are rare.


To determine whether the Time to Change (TTC) programme target of 5% reduction in discrimination has been achieved.


Separate samples of people using mental health services were interviewed annually from 2008 to 2011 using the Discrimination and Stigma Scale to record instances of discrimination.


Ninety-one per cent of participants reported one or more experiences of discrimination in 2008 compared with 88% in 2011 (z = −1.9, P = 0.05). The median negative discrimination score was 40% in 2008 and 28% in 2011 (Kruskal-Wallis χ2 = 83.4, P<0.001).


The proportion of participants experiencing no discrimination increased significantly over the course of TTC but by less than the initial target. The overall median discrimination score fell by 11.5%. Data from 2010 and 2011 suggest that these gains may be hard to maintain during economic austerity.

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