Ailish TMS technician

TMS Expert Blog: Consequences of Stigma/Discrimination

Issues Associated with Mental Illness

Further to her first blog on reducing mental illness stigma in Ireland, TMS Technician, Ailish O’Grady, provides her expert views on the consequences of stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness.

Prior to her current role as a Technician at Smart TMS in Dublin, Ailish studied psychology with a particular interest in Mental Health, Cognition and Neuroscience. She shares her unique perspective on the issue of stigma and discrimination.

Ailish writes:

The consequences of Stigma and Discrimination of Mental Illness

Discrimination and stigma has led to major barriers arising for recovery from mental illness.

Overwhelming evidence has shown that stigma may prevent patients from seeking out mental health services and adhering to treatment (Rüsch et al., 2005).

Wahl (2012) argues that patients may “attempt to distance themselves from the labels that mark them for social exclusion” (p.9) ie. having a mental illness.

The term ‘treatment gap’ describes the percentage of individuals who require mental healthcare but do not receive treatment (Kohn et al., 2004). In developing countries the treatment gap ranges from 44% to 70%. This percentage is estimated at a staggering 90% in developing countries (World Health Organisation, 2003).

In Ireland, the 2012 See Change study into mental health attitudes found that while 94% of people in Ireland feel that mental health problems can affect anyone, one in two people would not want anyone to know if they had a mental health problem. This sentiment was particularly strong among young males, farmers and people in the workplace. (See Change, 2012). The exceedingly large treatment gap is undoubtedly in-part due the stigmatising attitudes surrounding mental illness.

The Importance of Hope

In recent decades, researchers have stressed the importance of hope, optimism, self-identity, social inclusion and empowerment for recovery from mental illness (Schwartz, & Conklin, 2015). However, stigma and associated discrimination affect these aspects of recovery.

Discrimination in housing and employment affect a mentally ill person’s ability to be empowered and perceived as a valued member of society, which in-turn erodes their self-esteem, identity and hope for the future thus, having a significant influence on recovery.

Stigma is considered by some to cause a vicious circle of social disadvantage and disability, whereby discrimination prevents the mentally ill from integrating in normal life, which worsens the general public’s perception of them, leading to social exclusion and the process begins again (Stolzman, 1994). Pescosolido et al. (2010) conducted a study which found that 47% of respondents reportedly stated that they would be unwilling to work with a person suffering from major depressive disorder, whilst 74% would be reluctant and unwilling to work with someone who had alcohol dependence. Schulze & Angermeyer (2003) argue that mental illness stigma and it’s consequences are often “more devastating, life-limiting and long-lasting effects than the illness itself.” (Stuart, 2005 pg. 22)


  • Rüsch, N., Angermeyer, M., & Corrigan, P. (2005). Mental illness stigma: Concepts, consequences, and initiatives to reduce stigma. European Psychiatry, 20(8), 529-539.
  • Wahl, O. (2012). Stigma as a barrier to recovery from mental illness. Trends In Cognitive Sciences, 16(1), 9-10.
  • World Health Organisation,. (2003). Investing in Mental Health. Geneva: Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health. Retrieved from
  • Schwartz, R., & Conklin, J. (2015). Competing Paradigms. The Journal Of Applied Behavioral Science, 51(4), 479-500.
  • Pescosolido, B., Martin, J., Long, J., Medina, T., Phelan, J., & Link, B. (2010). “A Disease Like Any Other”? A Decade of Change in Public Reactions to Schizophrenia, Depression, and Alcohol Dependence. American Journal Of Psychiatry, 167(11), 1321-1330.
  • Schulze, B., & Angermeyer, M. (2003). Subjective experiences of stigma. A focus group study of schizophrenic patients, their relatives and mental health professionals. Social Science & Medicine, 56(2), 299-312.
  • Stuart, H. (2005). Fighting stigma and discrimination is fighting for mental health. Canadian Public Policy, 31(s1), 21-28.

Ailish, TMS Technician

Ailish TMS technician

Ailish is a member of the the Smart TMS team of technicians at our Dublin TMS Clinic in Ireland.

Her qualifications and experience include:

  • Degree in Psychology through science at Maynooth University.
  • Worked as a volunteer Mental Health carer.
  • Particular interest in Mental Health, Cognition and Neuroscience fields of Psychology.

About TMS Treatment

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy at Smart TMS

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a new approach to treating very difficult mental health conditions and offers hope to millions whose condition is not improved by medication or therapy.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is an innovative treatment which uses magnetic pulses to work directly on the areas of the brain affected by the mental health condition being treated. This could be depression, addiction, PTSD, OCD or anxiety.

Patients have typically spent years on antidepressants and also tried CBT or other talking therapies before finding out about TMS, which offers a completely different approach to treatment.

More Information on TMS Treatment

Contact Us

Smart TMS’s new Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treatment clinic will be located at:

Pembroke House,
28/32 Pembroke Street Upper,
Dublin 2,

For any queries or to book an appointment, please contact us:


Tel: (01) 254 2514

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