Stigma: The feelings and experiences of 46 people with mental illness. Qualitative study. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 184, 176-181

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, UK.
The British Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 7.99). 03/2004; 184(2):176-81. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.184.2.176
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Stigma defines people in terms of some distinguishing characteristic and devalues them as a consequence.
To describe the relationship of stigma with mental illness, psychiatric diagnosis, treatment and its consequences of stigma for the individual.
Narrative interviews were conducted by trained users of the local mental health services; 46 patients were recruited from community and day mental health services in North London.
Stigma was a pervasive concern to almost all participants. People with psychosis or drug dependence were most likely to report feelings and experiences of stigma and were most affected by them. Those with depression, anxiety and personality disorders were more affected by patronising attitudes and feelings of stigma even if they had not experienced any overt discrimination. However, experiences were not universally negative.
Stigma may influence how a psychiatric diagnosis is accepted, whether treatment will be adhered to and how people with mental illness function in the world. However, perceptions of mental illness and diagnoses can be helpful and non-stigmatising for some patients.

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Available from: Michael B King, Jul 29, 2014
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    • "Homogeneity gives the illusion that all members of the group under consideration are identical, sharing the same characteristics and having the same needs, so the diagnosis in most cases is wrong. The diagnostic label becomes an umbrella under which circumstances patients are grouped ,who may ,however, have very strong differences between them, both as to the condition and as to the diagnosis (Dinos et al, 2004). Moreover, the sense of homogeneity favours the reproduction of prejudices reinforcing stigma once again . "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The stigma of mental illness has been in the collective consciousness of humanity for eons. Speaking specifically for Greece, it is generally accepted that the stigma is still at high levels and at least higher than that of Western countries. Objective: This study aims to draw the attention of health professionals and the community to the stigma of mental illness and its approach from society and health professionals. Methodology: Extensive literature search in the electronic database "PubMed", "Google Scholar" and "Scopus" and in scientific journals via search engines using the keywords : mental illness, stigma, depression, health professionals. There was a time restriction,( the last ten years.) A key criterion for the selection of the articles was the English language. Results: The stigma of mental illness is attributed to situations of exclusion and negative social reaction which form part of the overall social dynamics, serving the needs and situations that are born in the context of social interaction. The mentally ill tend to receive lower level health facilities worldwide. This is due to the fact that the health professionals, who do not have the appropriate expertise, cannot manage the mentally ill as needed and the communication between them becomes dysfunctional, while they themselves are unable to describe accurately the symptoms they are experiencing. The result is the mentally ill do not receive the care they are entitled to, even if they suffer from several serious health problems. The diagnostic label is an umbrella under which cases of patients are grouped who may nevertheless have very strong differences between them, both as to the condition and as to the diagnosis. Many programs and various measures aimed at combating the stigma and discrimination that accompany the most serious mental disorders have been enacted in Greece. Conclusions: A significant step in combating the stigma is to raise public awareness about mental health issues. Various initiatives and campaigns can contribute to this, at a local or national level.
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    • "Goffman's theory of social stigma defines stigma as an 'attribute that is deeply discrediting' and causes the individual to be classified as different from others, from the norm, undesirable and therefore to be rejected, reducing his/her identity 'from a whole and usual person to a tainted, discounted one' (Goffman 1963, 3). Stigma as a conceptual tool has been used since Goffman's study by researchers to examine the exclusion of a wide range of social groups labelled as other and treated as tainted by those who are 'normal', perhaps most extensively in relation to mental illness (Corrigan, Markowitz, and Watson 2004; Dinos et al. 2004; Rüsch, Angermeyer, and Corrigan 2005), HIV/AIDS (Castro and Farmer 2005; Parker and Aggleton 2003; Alonzo and Reynolds 1995) and disability (Kleinman et al. 1995; Schneider 1988; Fine and Asch 1988). Scholars have also looked at the stigmatisation of migrants, usually in receiving countries and usually those stigmatised not just because of their immigration status, but also because they are engaged in sex work (Lévy and Lieber 2008; Scambler 2007; Pheterson 1993) or HIV positive (Koku 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Many, if not most, of those who are forcibly expelled from the country to which they have migrated will not settle in the country to which they have been returned but will leave again. A recent article examined some of the reasons why this should be so. It was argued that in addition to the factors that had caused the original migration, such as fear of persecution, continuing conflict, insecurity, poverty and lack of opportunity, deportation creates at least three additional reasons that make re-migration the most likely outcome. These were debt, family commitments and the shame of failure and or ‘contamination’ leading to stigmatisation. In this article, we explore the stigma of failure and of contamination attached to those deported, and the ways in which they respond to and manage this stigmatisation, including by re-migrating. We use Goffman's concept of stigma and the refinement offered by to further nuance understanding of the impact of deportation.
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    • "The latter likewise maintain that there is no longer any justification for the continued use of the diagnostic label schizophrenia since it is questionable from a conceptual point of view (van Praag, 1976; Bentall et al., 1988; Brockington, 1992; Sartorius, 2002; Murray, 2006; Kingdon, 2007; Madianos, 2008). In addition, research in social psychiatry has provided some evidence that the term schizophrenia is harmful and stigmatizing for both patients and carers (Dickerson et al., 2002; Dinos et al., 2004; Read et al., 2006; Howe et al., 2014). This paper aims to review the literature published so far on renaming schizophrenia and carefully weigh the pros and cons of the proposed changes. "
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    ABSTRACT: The term schizophrenia is increasingly contested by researchers, clinicians, patients and families. Mental health users and professionals around the world have started calling for a change of the name, seeing it as stigmatizing and harmful. This paper reviews the literature published so far on the issue of renaming schizophrenia, carefully weighing the pros and cons of the proposed changes. Forty seven papers have been published so far, encompassing editorials, research papers, commentaries to editorials, letters, forum papers and narrative reviews. The advantages of renaming schizophrenia far outweigh the disadvantages. It would reduce stigma and benefit communication between clinicians, patients and families. The most conservative option for renaming schizophrenia would be the use of eponyms since they are neutral and avoid adverse connotations. Renaming schizophrenia is not only a matter of semantics, but also an attempt to change the stigma carried by the present name. Nevertheless, a change will not be useful unless accompanied by parallel changes in legislation, services and the education of professionals and the public. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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