Lancet Commission On Ending Stigma And Discrimination In Mental Health Released

SAFMH News Room

The 10th of October 2022 marked World Mental Health Day (WMHD). This year, it also marked the release of a much anticipated Lancet Commission report on ending stigma and discrimination in mental health.

This Lancet Commission report is the result of a collaboration of more than 50 people worldwide. It brings together evidence and experience of the impact of stigma and discrimination and successful interventions for stigma reduction. It also calls for immediate, radical action from governments, international organisations, employers, healthcare providers and media organisations, along with active contributions from people with lived experience, to work together to end mental health stigma and discrimination.

Key Findings:

  • The consequences of stigma violate basic human rights. Mental health-related stigma and discrimination is widespread globally, leading to exclusion of individuals from society and the denial of basic human rights, such as job and education opportunities and access to healthcare, including mental health care.
  • Stigma can be reduced through social contact. The Commission’s analysis finds that forms of social contact (in person or remotely) between people who do and who do not have lived experience of mental health conditions is the most effective evidence-based way to reduce stigma and discrimination.
  • People with lived experience of mental health conditions must be empowered and supported to play active roles in stigma reduction efforts. For this reason, the Commission includes the voices of people with lived experiences in the form of poems, testimonies, and quotations to fully demonstrate the toll stigma and discrimination takes.


The Commission calls on all governments, international organisations, schools, employers, healthcare and media to take action now and gives specific recommendations including:

  • Governments to implement specific policies, and international organisations to issue guidance, that aim to reduce and eventually eliminate stigma and discrimination. Specifically, all countries to take action to decriminalise suicide, therefore reducing the stigma and discrimination around suicide and leading to fewer occurrences.
  • Employers to promote full access to educational opportunities, work participation and return-to-work programmes for people with mental health conditions.
  • National training courses for all health and social care staff to include mandatory training sessions on the needs and rights of people with mental health conditions, co-delivered by people with such conditions.
  • School curricula to include sessions for students on evidence-based interventions to improve understanding of mental health conditions.
  • All media organisations to systematically remove stigmatising content and issue policy statements and action plans on how they will actively promote mental health and consistently contribute to reduction of stigma and discrimination in mental health.

Charlene Sunkel, Founder and CEO of the Global Mental Health Peer Network and one of the authors of the Commission said:

Stigma and discrimination, throughout history, have exposed people with mental health conditions to its often devastating consequences and has built an unwelcoming society where structures and behaviours forced people with mental health conditions to defend their humanity and value. The Lancet Commission on Ending Stigma and Discrimination in Mental Health took an approach that place people with lived experience of mental health conditions at its core, and this gives a deeper understanding of what happens in people’s lives and in their communities when they are on the receiving end of stigma and discrimination. The Commission report gives hope by presenting possibilities for individuals, their families and communities to live in a stigma and discrimination-free society.

SAFMH welcomes the Lancet Commission and commends the team for an excellent and insightful piece of work. We are also delighted to see voices of persons with lived experience of mental illness included throughout the report.

You can read The Lancet Commission on ending stigma and discrimination in mental health here.

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