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Experiencing Mental Health when Treating Others. Experiences of Mental Health Workers in Relation to Mental Health Problems: Stigma, Perception, and Employment
Sarah Jill WEATHERSTONEContact / Kontakt / Kapcsolat & Lorna DODD
EJMH Vol 17 Issue 3 (2022) 5-22; https://doi.org/10.5708/EJMH.17.2022.3.1
Received: 4 February 2021; Accepted: 14 July 2022; Online: 13 December 2022
Section: Research Papers
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Abstract

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.

Keywords

stigma, employment, mental health, barriers, disclosure

Corresponding author

Sarah Jill WEATHERSTONE

Newman University, Genners Lane, Bartley Green, Birmingham, United Kingdom B32 3NT

sarah.weatherstone@cntw.nhs.uk

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4503-4904

Co-authors

Lorna DODD

Newman University, Genners Lane, Bartley Green, Birmingham, United Kingdom B32 3NT

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8878-9506

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.