Experiencing Mental Health when Treating Others: Stigma, Perception, and Employment

Sarah Weatherstone*, Lorna Dodd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Introduction: Mental health problems are among the leading causes of disability, with one in four adults in the UK experiencing a mental health
disorder. Even with the increasing knowledge concerning mental health
disorders, two-thirds of those experiencing concerns are reluctant to disclose their condition and seek professional help. This perceived stigma has
a strongly negative correlation with help-seeking behavior, and disproportionately affects healthcare professionals; 26% of mental health professionals in England are reported to be resigning due to a reduction of well-being.
Aims: This paper seeks to compare the effects of stigma perceived by mental
health and non-mental health professionals, the barriers perceived, and the
impact of specific disorders on this stigma.
Methods: Using a mixed-methods approach, a survey was conducted to determine the stigma levels and perceived barriers of 108 people; 50% of these
participants were professionals working within mental health services. Two
focus groups were conducted, one for mental health professionals and one
for non-mental health professionals, with four participants in each group.
Results: The survey reported that mental health professionals had a lower
level of stigma for specific disorders, although male mental health professionals working for less than five years reported a higher level of stigma
and perceived barriers than did females with the same experience – with
these then reducing after five years. The overarching focus group theme was
“changes needed for disclosure”, with each group having four subthemes.
Conclusions: Disclosure stigma remains an issue, with further research
needing to be conducted to adapt to a minimally stigmatizing service for
mental health professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-22
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Mental Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

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