Mental Health Service Users' Perceptions of Stigma, from the General Population and from Mental Health Professionals in Mexico: a Qualitative Study
Lagunes-Cordoba, E.; Davalos, A.; Fresan-Orellana, A.; Jarrett, M.; Gonzalez-Olvera, J.; Thornicroft, G.; Henderson, C.
Community Mental Health Journal 57(5): 985-993
ISSN/ISBN: 1573-2789 PMID: 32892303 DOI: 10.1007/s10597-020-00706-4
Negative attitudes towards people with mental health disorders have been widely studied and identified in the general population, and even within health care professionals. Moreover, studies focused on service users have also identified mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, as a source of stigma. However, in Mexico and Latin America few studies have been conducted addressing this issue. To explore mental health service users' perceptions of stigma by members of the general population and by psychiatrists in Mexico, service users at a psychiatric hospital in Mexico were invited to participate in either focus groups or individual interviews, which were audio recorded, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis. A total of 47 service users participated in this study. The results suggested that participants were not only aware of the possible consequences of mental health related stigma, but they have also experienced stigmatisation for having a mental illness. Participants also considered psychiatrists can hold negative attitudes towards people with mental illness, something that can represent a barrier for them to have optimal quality of care. Therefore, participants agreed that these attitudes should be addressed to improve the care they received from these professionals. This study suggests that, like members of the general population, psychiatrists are also considered as a source of stigma by people with mental illness in Mexico. These findings not only add to previous work conducted in Mexico and other countries, they also confirm the importance of addressing negative attitudes in this group of health professionals.