I work in an NHS acute in-patient unit. I experience discrimination on several different levels.
The people who use our service experience discrimination everyday because society has yet to fully come to terms with serious mental illness and it is part of my role as a nurse to educate and advocate to help promote understanding. Interestingly I too experience discrimination personally because of the job I do, this tends to come in two forms; firstly people tend to become withdrawn and stop communicating with me or avoid me because they feel I will constantly psycho-analyse them, this especially happens when the other person is experiencing mental health problems which they are not comfortable talking about.
Secondly I sometimes experience discrimination from people who have had a bad experience using mental health services and they perceive me as ‘part of the system’ and they often project anger and blame onto me and I have to work very hard to explain that I am passionate about improving mental health services for the people that use them. I enjoy talking about my job and my experiences and would be happy to share so other people can learn and breakdown their prejudices.