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Reading: Stigma due to their work in mental health, among mental health professionals in Sri Lanka

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Original Papers

Stigma due to their work in mental health, among mental health professionals in Sri Lanka

Authors:

U. L. N. S. Liyanage ,

National Hospital, Colombo, LK
About U. L. N. S.
University Psychiatry Unit
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W. W. J. S. M. Rowel,

National Hospital, Colombo, LK
About W. W. J. S. M.
University Psychiatry Unit
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U. H. Hewawitharana,

National Hospital, Colombo, LK
About U. H.
University Psychiatry Unit
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V. de Silva,

University of Colombo, Colombo, LK
About V.
Faculty of Medicine
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D. M. T. Dissanayake

University of Kelaniya, Ragama, LK
About D. M. T.
Faculty of Medicine
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Abstract

Background

Stigma related to mental health is not limited to individuals with mental illness or their families; health professionals working in mental health are also affected by it. Stigma among mental health professionals may lead to lack of work satisfaction, and poor recruitment and retention of personnel in the mental health sector resulting in poor mental health care. Stigma among the health professionals in Sri Lanka has not been studied adequately.

 

Aims

To study the extent, nature and correlates of stigma due to their work in mental health among mental health professionals in Sri Lanka.

 

Methods

This descriptive cross sectional study was conducted among healthcare professionals working in mental health, using a self-administered questionnaire.

 

Results

We studied a total of 125 professionals, including 6 psychiatrists, 14 postgraduate trainees, 17 medical officers, 51 nurses, 5 social workers and 32 ancillary staff working in mental health units of three teaching hospitals and a base hospital in the Western Province. A majority (56%) reported that others think less of them as professionals due to their work in mental health. Many (58%) reported having been either attacked or threatened with physical violence at the workplace, and most victims were nurses and ancillary staff. While 88% reported satisfaction with their work, only 34% indicated they would prefer to work in other branches of medicine. Stigma was least among psychiatrists and highest among nurses, and this difference was significant (p<0.05).

 

Conclusions

The experience of stigma and dissatisfaction with work among mental health professionals, particularly nurses and ancillary staff, in Sri Lanka is common. This has implications for mental health care in Sri Lanka.

How to Cite: Liyanage, U.L.N.S. et al., (2018). Stigma due to their work in mental health, among mental health professionals in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Psychiatry. 9(1), pp.4–8. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljpsyc.v9i1.8174
Published on 28 Jun 2018.
Peer Reviewed

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