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Mind issues joint response to stigmatising Sunday Times article

Monday, 23 June 2014 Mind

Many of our supporters got in touch with us to highlight a stigmatising article in the Sunday Times on 15th June 2014

The column’s headline was ‘I’m sorry, he’s not a differently gifted worker – he’s a psycho’ and has been since deleted from the Sunday Times’ website. The writer was that Adrian Furnham, Professor of Psychology at University College London.

In a joint letter to the Sunday Times, Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind; Mark Winstanley, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness; Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change; and Judith Robertson, Programme Director of ‘see me’ Scotland, said:

“We were concerned to read Adrian Furnham’s column in which he described how described how employers can ‘reject’ potential candidates with ‘abnormal’ traits. Many of the traits - such as anxiety, depression and psychosis - are symptoms of mental health problems, affecting one in six workers. This article leaves the reader with the impression that employers should discriminate against people with these symptoms.”

“There are already a huge number of employees with severe and enduring mental health problems who are highly valued members of staff making a valuable contribution to the workplace. People with mental health problems face many barriers to employment, not least societal attitudes. Terms such as ‘psycho’ fuel the misunderstanding surrounding mental illness – psychologists, professionals and employers should be working to break down that stigma, not contributing to it.” 

We have since received a communication from Professor Furnham. He apologised for the article and any anxiety or anger it may have caused, which was not his intention.

For details of raising concerns about a piece of media coverage, please go to Make a complaint.

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