The evaluation of a short group programme to reduce self-stigma in people with serious and enduring mental health problems

Authors

  • D. L. MACINNES phd msc bsc (hons) pg dip arm rmn,

    Corresponding author
    1. Reader in Mental Health, Centre for Health and Social Care Research, Faculty of Health, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, Kent, and
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  • M. LEWIS msc rmn

    1. Nurse Consultant (Assertive Outreach), Dorset Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Hahnemann House, Westcliff, Bournemouth, UK
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D. L. MacInnes
Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Faculty of Health
Canterbury Christ Church University
Canterbury
Kent CT1 1QU
UK
E-mail: douglas.macinnes@canterbury.ac.uk

Abstract

The concept of stigma has been acknowledged as being an important factor in the way that people with mental health problems are viewed and treated. Some authors suggest that stigma should be viewed as a multifaceted rather than a single concept. One part of this multifaceted concept has been called self-stigma which has been defined as the reactions of stigmatized individuals towards themselves. This study examined the impact of a 6-week group programme designed to reduce self-stigma in a group of service users with serious and enduring mental health problems. Twenty participants were assessed prior to the commencement of the group and immediately following its cessation. In addition to self-stigma, assessments for self-esteem, self-acceptance and psychological health measures were also undertaken. The results record a significant reduction in the stigma following the group and also non-significant increases in the participants' levels of self-esteem, self-acceptance and overall psychological health. However, there was only a negligible correlation recorded between the reduction in self-stigma and the increase in self-esteem, self-acceptance and psychological health. The paper discusses the possible explanations for these findings.

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