A MENTAL health campaigner has criticised a front page headline The Sun newspaper printed which said ‘mental patients’ had committed hundreds of murders.
The newspaper came under fire for its use of the words ‘mental patients’ which increases stigma around people who suffer mental health problems, some critics have said.
Now, mental health campaigner Dr Matt Long (pictured), who led the fight to keep Burton’s Margaret Stanhope Centre open, has joined the chorus of condemnation over The Sun’s headline and story.
He told the Mail: ““The Sun’s headline does little to contextualise a complicated social problem and instead posits a false causal relationship between mental illness and propensity to murder.
“The fact remains that 95 per cent of murders committed are done so by persons with no previous history of mental illness.
“The Sun’s headline is unhelpful at a time when charities like Time to Change and Changes are doing such good work to challenge stigmatization processes.
“One of the legacies of the Save Our Stanhope campaign, led by the Mail, is that some incredibly brave people gave their case studies as offerings which did so much to challenge labelling processes which mean that mentally ill people are seen as ‘others’ and different from the rest of society.
“Most mentally ill people are no danger to anyone and those who are a danger, are more likely to endanger their own lives than those of others.”
It is not the first time social attitudes towards mental health patients have hit the headlines in recent weeks.
Last month supermarket giant Asda was forced to withdraw a ‘mental patient’ fancy dress Halloween costume.
The most recent NHS survey said one in five adults think those with a history of mental health problems should be excluded from public office while one in 10 admitted being frightened to think of people with mental problems living in residential neighbourhoods.