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March 6, 2021

Romanians have pity on mentally disabled individuals, yet do not want them as neighbours

Three quarters of Romanians believe mentally disabled people are discriminated against in Romania, 45 per cent reject the probability of living with one and 33 per cent would not like to work with a person having such problems – are the conclusions of an IPP survey. In April 9 – 16, the Institute for Public Policies (IPP), through IPP DATA RESEARCH, conducted a national survey on Romanians’ perceptions of people with mental disabilities and their place in society.

The conclusion is that 75 per cent of Romanians believe mentally challenged persons are currently victims of discrimination in this country.

The result of the processed answers is that Romanians do not perceive mentally disabled individuals as being equal to the rest of the people, but as persons who were born with an abnormality impairing their intellect (88 per cent), as persons who need assistance in making decisions (64 per cent), people who cannot be made responsible for their actions (59 per cent).

‘One quarter of the respondents say mentally disabled persons cannot live in a society, together with people without disabilities, which suggests an extremely bad situation for the immediate chance of integration, for the respect of their right to a normal life,’ IPP programme director and survey coordinator Elena Iorga says.

The survey conducted on a sample of 1,018 people, representative for the adult Romanian population, clearly indicates that, while formally declaring themselves tolerant with mentally challenged people, in reality Romanians would not like to have them live in their immediate proximity. Fourty-five per cent of the respondents reject the probability of living with a mentally disabled person and 33 per cent would not agree to working with one.

Romanians feel pity and compassion for intellectually disabled persons, with 18 per cent choosing that as the first word that comes to mind when they think of one, which suggests that public integration policies, including on the labour market, will take some serious effort to be implemented.

‘A majority say the state should do more for these people (over 75 per cent of respondents believe the state does not support disabled people enough), the general attitude being passivity rather than action to create a social context giving them a chance to lead a normal life that they can manage themselves. Most people say the state should allocate more funds (42 per cent) and only 27 per cent say that the support for families for the integration of mentally disabled people in the society should be increased,’ say the survey authors.

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