Fears About "Invisible Illness" Silence

People with mental health problems and other "invisible'' illnesses worry about telling those around them about their conditions, a survey has found.

Research published for Invisible Illness Week found that 66% of people would be hesitant telling an employer about a mental health issue, or an invisible illness such as ME, fibromyalgia or lyme disease.

A similar percentage, 65%, would not feel comfortable telling their friends - while 56% would struggle to tell their family.

The survey also revealed that 45% of people who experience mental health issues alongside an invisible illness find it hard to have their physical symptoms taken seriously.

The survey was carried out by See Me, Scotland's programme to end mental health discrimination, and one of their community champions, Louise Smith.

See Me director Calum Irving said: "No one should ever be made to feel ashamed or embarrassed to tell anyone that they experience any sort of mental or physical health condition.

"For those who are experiencing both mental and invisible physical illnesses they can face duel stigma and unfair discrimination for two conditions.

"It is not fair that people have to worry about telling those closest to them that they need help and support.

"We all need to know that it is okay not to be okay and we all need to do what we can to be there, listen and not judge people.''

The survey was based on responses from 114 people.

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