Mental illness: Diagnostic title or derogatory term? (Attitudes towards mental illness) Developing a learning resource for use within a clinical call centre.A systematic literature review on attitudes towards mental illness

South Central Ambulance NHS Trust, UK.
Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing (Impact Factor: 0.84). 09/2008; 15(8):684 - 693. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2008.01288.x


With one in three people likely to experience mental health problems during their lifetime, it is paradoxical that stigma and negative attitudes towards mental illness are so prevalent in the UK today. This systematic literature review was completed to investigate what the most common negative attitudes towards mental illness are, and the most common recommendations made to address them. The findings were used to inform teaching resources used in an National Health Service Direct call centre. Guidelines for undertaking a systematic review, produced by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, were used. Terms were set and a search of electronic databases and peer-reviewed academic journals was completed, from which 16 primary research papers (from the UK) were obtained and used. These were assessed, using evidence-based critical appraisal tools, to obtain data pertinent to the original question. This paper describes the process, including a detailed account of the methodologies employed to gather and analyse relevant data. Put into context, alongside key drivers (e.g. government papers), the findings are presented and discussed, along with underlying theories, where appropriate. Recommendations for professional practice are then presented.

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    • "Following diagnosis, professionals may have used alternative labels such as ‘psychosis’ to limit the impact of the unique stigma associated with schizophrenia. However, this led to some participants not knowing their diagnosis and appeared to maintain a lack of understanding of schizophrenia, both stemming from and perpetuating stigma related to the diagnosis.19 Consistent with existing literature, participants mostly understood schizophrenia as a biological illness, which reduced hope for change and increased reliance on medication as well as a sense of passivity.20 "
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    ABSTRACT: Aims and method To explore service users’ experiences of receiving a diagnosis of schizophrenia and the stigma associated with the diagnostic label. Seven participants were interviewed about their perceptions of these experiences. Interviews were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results Five superordinate themes resulted from the analysis: (1) avoidance of the diagnosis of schizophrenia; (2) stigma and diagnostic labels; (3) lack of understanding of schizophrenia; (4) managing stigma to maintain normality; (5) being ‘schizophrenic’. These, together with their subthemes, highlighted avoidance of the term schizophrenia by participants and use of alternative terms by professionals, which limited opportunities for understanding the label and challenging associated stigma. Participants strived to maintain normality despite potential stigma. Clinical implications There is a need to address the process of giving a diagnosis as a phenomenon of consequence within its own terms. Implications relate to how professionals deliver and discuss the diagnosis of schizophrenia.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Psychiatric Bulletin
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    ABSTRACT: The concept of stigma, denoting relations of shame, has a long ancestry and has from the earliest times been associated with deviations from the 'normal', including, in various times and places, deviations from normative prescriptions of acceptable states of being for self and others. This paper dwells on modern social formations and offers conceptual and theoretical pointers towards a more convincing contemporary sociology of health-related stigma. It starts with an appreciation and critique of Goffman's benchmark sensitisation and traces his influence on the personal tragedy or deviance paradigm dominant in the medical sociology from the 1970s. To allow for the development of an argument, the focus here is on specific types of disorder--principally, epilepsy and HIV--rather than the research literature as a whole. Brief and critical consideration is given to attempts to operationalise or otherwise 'measure' health-related stigma. The advocacy of a rival oppression paradigm by disability theorists from the 1980s, notably through re-workings of the social model of disability, is addressed. It is suggested that we are now in a position to learn and move on from this paradigm 'clash'. A re-framing of notions of relations of stigma, signalling shame, and relations of deviance, signalling blame, is proposed. This framework, and the positing of a variable and changing dynamic between cultural norms of shame and blame--always embedded in social structures of class, command, gender, ethnicity and so on--is utilised to explore recent approaches to health stigma reduction programmes.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2009 · Sociology of Health & Illness
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