[The lived experience of stigma among mentally ill persons].
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to explore the subjective experiences of stigma among mentally ill persons.
Phenomenological methodology was used for the study. Participants were twelve people with mental illness enrolled at the S community mental health center in GyeongGi-Do. Data were collected via in-depth interviews from August 30 to October 1, 2010 and analyzed using Colaizzi's framework.
Four themes and sixteen formulated meanings were identified for the stigma experiences of participants with mental illness. The four themes were 'Incapable of struggling against unfair treatment', 'Living as an outsider', 'Being constrained by oneself', 'Being in suspense over disclosure of oneself'.
The results from this study underscore the need for an educational and awareness programs to reduce public stigma among the general population and self-stigma among people with mental illness. In addition, efforts are also needed to prioritize mental illness stigma as a major public health issue at the government and community level.