Fear of being stigmatised holds back people with mental health problems, a new survey has revealed.
Research published by the "see me" campaign shows that 83% of respondents face a dilemma about whether to be honest about their condition.
One in four people will experience mental health problems.
"See me", which launches a new TV ad campaign on Monday, is funded by the Scottish Executive and is run by an alliance of five mental health bodies.
The campaign's director, Linda Dunion said: "It is clear that being open about having a mental health problem is a risk which many people are just not prepared to take.
"Not being able to predict how others will react presents real difficulties in everyday situations, from the family and friends to the workplace and the community.
"Unfortunately such fears are often well founded and are reinforced every time someone overhears others treating mental ill-health as a joke or something to be scared of."
Shame and blame
She added that it was disappointing, but not surprising to find that the risk of being stigmatised affects the choices made by 83% of those with mental health problems.
Ms Dunion asserted that people were being excluded and having their expectations lowered because of the secrecy, shame and blame which are still widely attached to mental ill-health.
She said: "We need open minds, but we also need to be more careful not to make hurtful throwaway comments about mental ill-health and to be ready to support, not desert, someone who takes a chance by telling us about their mental health problems."
Previous research by the organisation showed that:
- 43% of people with mental health problems did not apply for a job or promotion
- 57% concealed past or current mental health problems when applying for a job
- 45% concealed past or current mental health problems for fear of losing a job
- Of those who had been off work with mental health problems, 67% said they did not want to go back to work because they were scared of the attitudes they would encounter.