Stigma shrouds mental health in secrecy: Study

  • A new study, conducted in Delhi, has found that nearly 90 per cent of the people living with mental illnesses feel that they are prone to ridicule and discrimination and 63 per cent felt mental illness made it difficult to lead a life of dignity.
  • The survey was conducted by Cosmos Institute of Mental Health & Behavioural Sciences (CIMBS), examining general attitudes and perceptions about mental health in the Capital. It was released on Monday on the occasion of World Mental Health Day.

About the Study:

  • The researchers tracked 529 subjects between the age of 18 to 62 years from across National Capital Region (NCR).
  • The researchers found that 58 per cent of the participants knew of someone in their personal or professional life, with a psychiatric or a psychological health issue.
  • Over 70 per cent felt that the person was not taking adequate medical treatment.

Information withheld

  • Further, 39 per cent knew someone who had hidden their illness from their spouse before marriage, and 53 per cent had prevented disclosure of such information to their employers.
  • An overwhelming majority — 94 per cent of the respondents — thought not enough was being done to remove stigma from mental illness. “Mental illness continues to be shrouded in an air of secrecy and guilt.
  • Patients afraid to disclose their illness publicly. While maintaining confidentiality is routine and important for us, we see patients with serious illnesses or even common problems like depression, anxiety and stress, from all backgrounds, eager to keep their illness a secret.
  • Stigma surrounding mental illness is a continuing problem that mental health experts and patients have battled for long.
  • The study, says “an astounding 89 per cent of the respondents felt that those with psychiatric illness were more likely to be ridiculed, discriminated against, or looked down upon in society. Of the respondents, 63 per cent said mental illness made it difficult to lead a life of dignity.

Source: The Hindu

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