Tensions and Paradoxes of Stigma : Discussing Stigma in Mental Health Rehabilitation

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Paananen, J.; Lindholm, C.; Stevanovic, M.; Weiste, E. Tensions and Paradoxes of Stigma: Discussing Stigma in Mental Health Rehabilitation. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 5943.

Title: Tensions and Paradoxes of Stigma : Discussing Stigma in Mental Health Rehabilitation
Author: Paananen, Jenny; Lindholm, Camilla; Stevanovic, Melisa; Weiste, Elina
Publisher: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
Date: 2020-08-16
Language: en
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/318472
Abstract: Mental illness remains as one of the most stigmatizing conditions in contemporary western societies. This study sheds light on how mental health professionals and rehabilitants perceive stigmatization. The qualitative study is based on stimulated focus group interviews conducted in five Finnish mental health rehabilitation centers that follow the Clubhouse model. The findings were analyzed through inductive content analysis. Both the mental health rehabilitants and the professionals perceived stigmatization as a phenomenon that concerns the majority of rehabilitants. However, whereas the professionals viewed stigma as something that is inflicted upon the mentally ill from the outside, the rehabilitants perceived stigma as something that the mentally ill themselves can influence by advancing their own confidence, shame management, and recovery. Improvements in treatment, along with media coverage, were seen as the factors that reduce stigmatization, but the same conceptualization did not hold for serious mental illnesses. As the average Clubhouse client was thought to be a person with serious mental illness, the rehabilitation context designed to normalize attitudes toward mental health problems was paradoxically perceived to enforce the concept of inevitable stigma. Therefore, it is important for professionals in rehabilitation communities to be reflexively aware of these tensions when supporting the rehabilitants.

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