Stigmatization of individuals suffering from mental illness and methods of counteraction – analysis of the statements of the elderly
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Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Wydział Filozoficzny, Instytut Psychologii
Submission date: 2019-04-17
Acceptance date: 2019-06-16
Online publication date: 2020-08-31
Publication date: 2020-08-31
Corresponding author
Anna Magdalena Bańbura   

Uniwersytet Jagielloński
Psychiatr Pol 2020;54(4):807-820
Stigmatization of those who seem to be superficially or innately different produces many negative consequences, such as hindered recovery process in people suffering from mental disorders. The tendency to stigmatize manifests itself in the majority of age groups, but the elderly seem to be ignored both in research concerning the phenomenon of stigmatization itself and research on methods of counteracting it. The aim of the study was to describe the experiences of contact between the elderly and people suffering from mental illness in order to recount both the symptoms of stigmatization and the readiness to meet such people. The additional goal of the study was to reflecton the methods of counteracting stigmatization.

A qualitative method based on the hermeneutic and phenomenological thought was used to analyze the data collected from four group interviews.

We distinguished three main themes: (1) “Beliefs about the causes of mental illness”, (2) “Emotional attitude towards people suffering from mental illness” and (3) “Ways of interacting with people suffering from mental”.

Readiness to stigmatize (blaming, controlling, anxiety) and meet people affected by mental disorders as well as to acknowledge their autonomy was observed in our subjects. We propose methods of combating the stigma such as: acquainting recipients with existential and evolutionary thought, nurturing imagination and encouraging peopleto confront common stereotypes with stories of people they know.

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