This paper is one in a series of quarterly reflections on recent research in mental health and social inclusion.
Two papers are summarised here, representing two sides of a coin: one reviewing research on tackling stigma against people with experience of mental distress; the other illustrating how people with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder (or 'manic‐depression'), can manage to continue in work and other valued social roles.
The first paper suggests that some approaches to tackling stigma work better than others, and people researching them need to use measures that accurately capture change. Community‐based participatory research allows researchers and people with experience of mental distress to collaborate and capture outcomes that will really make a difference to people's lives. The second paper illustrates how people with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder can not only continue to work but also participate in other socially valued roles.However, it was important to have support for developing self‐understanding and for discovering which strategies were most helpful personally for managing stressors. To conclude: people with severe mental health conditions can and do continue to live well in society, but this requires, in addition to personal coping strategies, continued attention to reducing stigma and discrimination and to understanding what works in achieving this.
This paper summarises a recent review paper on research into effective ways of tackling stigma against people experiencing mental distress, and a recent paper illustrating how people can live well in the community with bipolar disorder.
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