STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION AMONG INDIVIDUALS WITH MENTAL DISORDERS IN LAGOS, NIGERIA: A QUALITATIVE STUDY
The increasing social stigma and discrimination against individuals with mental disorders have been reported to be of global public health concern especially in the developing countries. We investigated experiences of stigma and discrimination among individuals with mental disorders carried out by family members, friends, general public, co-workers and employers. Narrative interviews were conducted on 50 randomly selected patients from the outpatients' clinic of the department of psychiatry, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria. Participants were asked open-ended questions on their personal experiences on negative stigmatising attitudes of family members, friends, general public, co-workers and employers. The majority of individuals living with mental illness emphatically claimed that they frequently experienced stigmatising attitude and discriminating behaviour from their family members, co-workers, employers and the general public. This study demonstrated that persons living with mental disorders experienced negative stigmatising behaviour by the close family members, friends, co-workers and general public. Clinicians and policy makers should further create awareness, advocacy and enlightenment programmes against social stigma and discrimination in the general population.
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