• Question: Do you think once you are 'labelled' with mental heath problems is it likely it will stick with you?

    Asked by Casey.xx to Robert, Olly, Nicola, Jasmin, Dennis, Caroline on 12 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Jasmin Moon

      Jasmin Moon answered on 12 Jun 2019:

      Hi Casey. A label or diagnosis can be very helpful for some people as it means their treatment can be more suited to their condition and is therefore more likely to work. Having a diagnosis also means that they are more likely to receive help at school or in the workplace. However some people don’t like having a diagnosis because of the negative associations that can unfortunately come with it. Either way, it is worth remembering that a diagnosis doesn’t define them or who they are and what they can achieve.

    • Photo: Robert Dempsey

      Robert Dempsey answered on 12 Jun 2019:

      I think it depends on the individual. I’ve interviewed many people living with mental health conditions and some find having a diagnosis really helps them to make sense of their experiences. Other people reject these labels and focus more on the specific symptoms. I think the issue with labelling often relates to how other people view that person – often because certain negative stereotypes are made in relation to someone who has a particular diagnostic label. Some people I know talk about their mental health diagnosis as being part of who they are (their personality) and others talk about their mental health diagnosis as being something else (like an illness) which doesn’t reflect who they are. I think the stigma around these labels is starting to change though.

    • Photo: Dennis Relojo-Howell

      Dennis Relojo-Howell answered on 12 Jun 2019:

      Most people that I spoke to say it stays with them. Sadly, as a society we still have a long way to go in addressing stigma that surround mental health. So if you know someone that is struggling with mental health, make them realise that you see them as a person, and not as their mental health illness.

    • Photo: Oliver Clabburn

      Oliver Clabburn answered on 13 Jun 2019:

      I think a label perhaps does stick with you. But it might not necessarily be a bad thing. Some people talk about the relief felt when they finally get a label for something. It means that they now have a name for the issue. For some this means treatment can begin. For others, perhaps just having a name/label means being able to connect with others and can create a support network.

    • Photo: Caroline Brett

      Caroline Brett answered on 13 Jun 2019:

      Diagnosis with a mental health condition can be useful, as others have said, because it opens the door to making sure the person gets the right kind of treatment. It can also allow them to access support from others with that same condition.
      I would like to think that a diagnosis, or label, would not stick with someone unless they wanted it to (i.e. no-one would know unless you told them) but I have heard stories that suggest otherwise, sadly.

    • Photo: Nicola Johnstone

      Nicola Johnstone answered on 14 Jun 2019:

      I did a very quick review of the literature on this as I wasn’t sure if this was more of a sociological issue or psychological (it’s not in my expertise). It seems the science says that stigma – negative labels that characterise people or groups – are a problem especially in that first step to getting treatment and it’s worse for people who have more severe symptoms. This is affects people with schizophrenia and personality disorders more. I had a quick check to look for how stigma is addressed and I didn’t come up with much, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t working to make this better. It seems that labels might stick stick with you, and more so in certain disorders.