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Psychiatr Q. 2009 Mar;80(1):55-64. doi: 10.1007/s11126-009-9093-7. Epub 2009 Feb 4.

"Unfortunately, we treat the chart:" sources of stigma in mental health settings.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, 319 Peck Street, Building 1, New Haven, CT 06513, USA. elizabeth.flanagan@yale.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Stigma within mental health settings may be equally detrimental to people with mental illnesses as societal stigma.

AIMS:

This study investigated stigma in mental health settings through a mixed qualitative-quantitative design.

METHOD:

Practitioners at a community mental health center indicated (1) their subjective experience of treating people with mental illness, and (2) descriptive features of people with mental illness.

RESULTS:

Interpretive phenomenological analysis found that a primary theme across practitioners was the causes and effects of labeling patients, a process practitioners attributed to other practitioners and/or to systemic pressures to "treat the chart" instead of the patient. Beyond symptoms and deficits, practitioners rated people with mental illnesses as "insightful" and "able to recover."

CONCLUSIONS:

These data suggest that stigma in mental health settings may be due to structural, systemic pressures on practitioners, with practitioners' emphasis on symptoms and deficits as a secondary factor.

PMID:
19191027
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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