Most develop their mental health problems during their youth. Almost eight percent of young people between the ages of 15-25 suffer or have suffered from mental illness. This would translate into three pupils out of every class dealing with mental illness or serious mental difficulties.
Much research shows that staff members within the health sector - the psychiatric sector included - do not differ from the general population when it comes to stigmatisation of those suffering from mental illness and their relatives. The staff members are in close contact with service users and their relatives, but they also manage a position of power. This allows them to wield great influence on the self-image of the service users. A negative self-image can lead to self-stigmatisation.
A lack of knowledge can be the direct cause of prejudice. The many sensation-focused stories in the media about individuals suffering from mental illness committing dangerous crimes against other persons maintain a one-sided and negative image.