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Mentally ill neighbours not wanted

The number of people who would not want to live next door to someone who is mentally ill appears to be increasing.

Figures show that while the public seems to be broadly sympathetic to people with mental health problems, there has been a fall in tolerant attitudes.

A survey of 1,703 adults across England found the number who would not want to live next to somebody who is mentally ill rose from 8% in 1994 to 12% in 2008.

Over the same period, the proportion disagreeing with the statement fell from 74% to 63%.

Between 2000 and 2008, there were also falls in the number of people agreeing that there is a responsibility to provide the best possible care for people with mental illness, and more also agreed that increased spending on mental health services is a waste of money.

There was also an increase in the number of people who said those with a mental illness do not deserve sympathy, and more see no reason why society should adopt a more tolerant attitude towards the mentally ill.

But some attitudes are improving - the number agreeing that people with mental illness are a burden on society stood at 7% in 2008, a drop of 3% on the 10% figure for 1994.

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Mental Health Foundation

Would you like to live next to somebody who is mentally ill? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"You are ill advised to run this article. 1) It is not a true statement: 20% of society is dealing with a mental illness, we are already your neighbors, and fully accepted. 2) It promotes the stereotype that people  make decisions based upon single descriptors. 3) It promotes the stereotype that we who are  dealing with a mental illness are easily recognized, the majority of us are indiscernible from those without." - Harold A Maio, Advisory Board, American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation