The Department of Health has welcomed the findings of a survey of the attitude of 2,000 adults to mental illness as showing a 'small but significant shift' in public opinion. The survey found that 24 per cent thought anybody with a history of mental health problems should be excluded from public office, down from 32 per cent per cent in 1997. Just under 20 per cent were 'frightened' to think of people with mental illness living in residential areas, down from 25 per cent. Mental health charity MACA said there was still a 'terrible stigma' attached to mental illness. But it welcomed the finding that 92 per cent of those questioned thought anybody could become mentally ill and 94 per cent thought 'the best possible care' should be provided.

Survey summaries: www.doh.gov.uk/public/england.htm