Examining Stigma as Personally Experienced by People with Mental Health Issues in IrelandAssociation of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (AOTI) Annual Conference (2014)
Background: Many people living with mental health issues today are doubly challenged. First, they must cope with all of the practical ramifications of their conditions, including symptoms and side effects of medications. Secondly, they must cope with the less obvious but no less difficult, challenge—stigma. This report details the findings from a qualitative study investigating the lived experiences of stigma of people with mental health issues in Ireland.
Method: This study was qualitative in nature and was conducted using a phenomenological approach. Three face-to-face, semi-structured interviews were conducted with people with experience of mental health issues. These were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically. Trustworthiness of data was ensured through peer checking, interview piloting, and the completion of an audit trail.
Findings: Four main themes emerged from the experiences of the participants: the various forms of stigma, the potential causes of stigma, the impact of stigma on the participants’ lives, and methods of coping with stigma.
Implications and Conclusion: Based on these findings, stigma can be viewed as a barrier to recovery for clients with mental health issues. Occupational therapists (OTs) play a role in equipping these clients with coping strategies and a sense of empowerment and self-esteem. These findings may help to better understand how stigma affects these elements and offer solutions for how they can be effectively addressed. They are of relevance to occupational therapy (OT) but perhaps also to society at large and may, in a small way, contribute to a more accepting and tolerant society overall.
Publication DateMay, 2014
Citation InformationKaren McCarthy and Bianca Doherty. "Examining Stigma as Personally Experienced by People with Mental Health Issues in Ireland" Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (AOTI) Annual Conference (2014)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/karen-mccarthy/16/