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Article

Tensions and Paradoxes of Stigma: Discussing Stigma in Mental Health Rehabilitation

1
Department of Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 54, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
2
Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University, 33014 Tampere, Finland
3
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5943; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165943
Received: 29 June 2020 / Revised: 13 August 2020 / Accepted: 14 August 2020 / Published: 16 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stigma, Health and Wellbeing)
Mental illness remains as one of the most stigmatizing conditions in contemporary western societies. This study sheds light on how mental health professionals and rehabilitants perceive stigmatization. The qualitative study is based on stimulated focus group interviews conducted in five Finnish mental health rehabilitation centers that follow the Clubhouse model. The findings were analyzed through inductive content analysis. Both the mental health rehabilitants and the professionals perceived stigmatization as a phenomenon that concerns the majority of rehabilitants. However, whereas the professionals viewed stigma as something that is inflicted upon the mentally ill from the outside, the rehabilitants perceived stigma as something that the mentally ill themselves can influence by advancing their own confidence, shame management, and recovery. Improvements in treatment, along with media coverage, were seen as the factors that reduce stigmatization, but the same conceptualization did not hold for serious mental illnesses. As the average Clubhouse client was thought to be a person with serious mental illness, the rehabilitation context designed to normalize attitudes toward mental health problems was paradoxically perceived to enforce the concept of inevitable stigma. Therefore, it is important for professionals in rehabilitation communities to be reflexively aware of these tensions when supporting the rehabilitants. View Full-Text
Keywords: content analysis; discrimination; focus group; interview; mental health; prejudice; psychosocial health; rehabilitation; stigma; qualitative study content analysis; discrimination; focus group; interview; mental health; prejudice; psychosocial health; rehabilitation; stigma; qualitative study
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MDPI and ACS Style

Paananen, J.; Lindholm, C.; Stevanovic, M.; Weiste, E. Tensions and Paradoxes of Stigma: Discussing Stigma in Mental Health Rehabilitation. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 5943. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165943

AMA Style

Paananen J, Lindholm C, Stevanovic M, Weiste E. Tensions and Paradoxes of Stigma: Discussing Stigma in Mental Health Rehabilitation. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(16):5943. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165943

Chicago/Turabian Style

Paananen, Jenny; Lindholm, Camilla; Stevanovic, Melisa; Weiste, Elina. 2020. "Tensions and Paradoxes of Stigma: Discussing Stigma in Mental Health Rehabilitation" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17, no. 16: 5943. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165943

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