Shine’s response to the article entitled “Sex Offenders will be treated beside school – Concerns over psych unit”, published on pages 1 and 3 of the Galway City Tribune on Friday 24th May 2019
As a national voluntary organisation, supporting and working with people with severe mental ill health, and their families, Shine considers the above named article, published in the Galway City Tribune on Friday 24th May to be acutely stigmatising.
The article refers to outpatients of the HSE’s Mental Health Services as “including sex offenders and violent criminals”. Creating the link between mental ill health and violence, unpredictable behaviours and a sexual predatory nature is stigmatising and misleading, feeding into public misconception and the creation of fear and anger.
Stigma experienced by people because of their mental health problem can act as a barrier to speaking out, seeking help and recovery, and can result in treatment discontinuity. Shine is concerned that the context of the above named article, feeds into stereotyping and prejudice opinions that people form when they are not fully aware of the facts. People with self- experience of mental health conditions frequently encounter discrimination which can have a detrimental negative impact including isolation and exclusion.
Mr John Saunders, CEO of Shine said, “International research demonstrates that the relationship between many psychiatric illnesses and violent behaviours or a sexual predatory nature does not exist, showing that attitudes toward people with self-experience of mental ill health are in most cases subject to a biased prejudice and / or stereotype.”