There is a complex relationship between mental health difficulties and experiences of social exclusion or discrimination. On the one hand, there is substantial evidence that adverse social experiences, including social isolation, abuse or discrimination, can be a contributory factor leading to the onset of mental health difficulties (see Chapter 1). On the other, once people become identified as suffering from mental health difficulties, they may become subject to a range of stigmatising or discriminatory responses, not only from society at large but also within the mental health system. These may, in turn, serve to exacerbate the impact of previous negative experiences, potentially leading to a further worsening of people’s mental health (Tew, 2011).
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