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Stigma related to help-seeking from a mental health professional

Background: Throughout history people with mental illnesses have been stigmatized. There is a wide range of literature on stigmatization and discrimination of people with mental illness. Purpose: To examine the relationships between stigma, mental illness and help-seeking. Method and Material: A review of this body of literature was carried out. Evidence was collected through Medline database. Results: The role of supernatural, religious and magical approaches to mental illness was prevailing in the past. Individuals with mental illness are still being stigmatized despite modern medicine and more humane treatment. People with mental illness are considered as dangerous and aggressive which in turn increases the social distance. The pathway to care is often shaped by scepticism towards mental health services and the treatments offered. Stigma experienced from family members is pervasive. Moreover, social disapproval and devaluation of families with mentally ill individuals are an important concern. Conclusions: This review revealed that the stigmatization of people with mental illness is widespread. Because of the importance of this subject, future research should be conducted to look at why mental illness is stigmatized by the general public and mainly orientate towards finding a way for individuals with mental illness to live in a world without stigma.

Author(s): Zartaloudi Aphroditi

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