Distressing level of discrimination still faced by people with psychosis survey finds

Shine, Mental Health Reform and the HSE National Clinical Programme for Early Intervention in Psychosis launches its third annual survey of individuals with lived experience of psychosis and their supporters

May 24th 2024.

A distressing level of discrimination is still faced by individuals with psychosis. That’s the finding of the Shine, Mental Health Reform and the HSE National Clinical Programme for Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) 2023 survey.
The 2023 survey findings were released today to mark World Schizophrenia Day and launch the 2024 survey for people with lived experience of psychosis and their supporters.

Respondents with personal experience of psychosis agreed or strongly agreed that they experienced discrimination in media representation of psychosis (75%)1, in the workplace (71%), from friends and family (61%) and in their local community (60%).

Among other findings were, of those respondents who managed to receive specialised EIP care, significantly better experiences were reported, with 84% saying they found it easy to access services compared to 50% in non-EIP settings. 74% of survey participants relied on general mental health services due to the limited availability of specialised Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) services, which only 26% accessed.

Dr. Karen O Connor, National Clinical Lead, Early Intervention in Psychosis Programme, Health Service Executive said: “This survey illuminates the profound impact that accessible and specialised Early Intervention in Psychosis services can have, showcasing how informed, compassionate care not only transforms lives but also strengthens our communities- creating a more equitable and compassionate society for everyone.”

Nicola Byrne, CEO of Shine, the organisation that supports people affected by mental illness and their families and a partner in the production of the annual survey, said the 2023 survey results show that stigma stubbornly persists around mental illness and is especially high around psychosis. “Shine works hard, through our Green Ribbon Campaign, Workplace, Ambassador and Headline programmes and other initiatives to reduce stigma around mental illness, but these findings are evidence that distressing levels of stigma remain and show that much more needs to be done. We must redouble our efforts with more public education and awareness raising.”

Survey participants agree. One said: “There should be more support around stigma as I face a lot of discrimination in the community due to my mental illness and medication side effects. I have no one to go to.”

Another respondent, a family member said: “My sibling has been very lucky and has received, and continues to receive, excellent care from the EIP services in the HSE. However, serious mental health illnesses need to be spoken about more in the public arena. Whilst mental health in general has become a topic, there is still serious stigma attached to mental illness.”

Fiona Coyle, CEO of Mental Health Reform said: “People who experience psychosis deserve and need dedicated, specialised supports and services. This survey highlights the importance of increased investment in Early Intervention in Psychosis teams to improve outcomes for people with psychosis and their families. Additional funding for community services is also vital to support recovery and reduce the impact of stigma on individuals with mental health difficulties.”

1 Survey respondents were asked to give their perspective on the media generally; no distinction was made between factual and fictional media.

The 2024 survey launched today will run for six weeks, until Friday, July 5th.

Link to survey: https://forms.office.com/e/XhhL120mjU

Ellen Lynch
Communications & Engagement Manager,
086 1370015