Throughout the WHO European Region, stigma and discrimination are barriers that people living with mental health conditions face in nearly every aspect of their lives. These barriers hinder many from getting or keeping a job, getting an education, and even accessing health care, and often negatively affect people’s perceptions of themselves.
In Kazakhstan, innovative approaches to combat and raise awareness of stigma and discrimination are bearing fruit, largely due to the persistent work of the National Scientific Centre of Kazakhstan, with its 2 dedicated Mental Health Centers founded by the Ministry of Health in Kazakhstan, in cooperation with WHO and partners.
“It’s not only [public] stigma that is an issue in our country,” explains Dr Nikolay Negay, Mental Health Consultant at the WHO Country Office in Kazakhstan and former Director of the Research Center for Mental Health. “People suffering from ill mental health tend to self-stigmatize, creating double barriers for themselves. But luckily, we’re slowly starting to change this trend.”