Records of ill people being stigmatised exist over the centuries, especially individuals with mental disorders and related mental health problems. Ingredients of such stigmatisation include a belief that such disorders are often self-inflicted and resistant to change. Also, the perceptions that those with them are dangerous and present major difficulties in social interaction (Hayward & Bright, 1997). Such stigmatisation then takes many behavioural forms, including abuse and social distancing. These same disorders are common and, overall, they comprise the largest group of health problems in the country today. For a century or more the public has been protected by the existence of mental hospitals. With their closure and the emphasis now on community care, public concern seems to be mounting and stigmatisation of those afflicted worsening.
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