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YM Lai, CPH Hong, CYI Chee
Correspondence: Dr Lai Yew Min
Background Psychiatric patients carry the additional burden of stigma.
Methods The views of 300 psychiatric out-patients and day-patients and 100 mental health workers concerning stigma were sought. The control group comprised 50 cardiac out-patients.
Results A fair proportion of patients with schizophrenia or depression perceived that stigma had a negative effect on their self-esteem, relationships and job opportunities. The majority felt a need for an increase in public awareness of mental illness. In contrast, the cardiac patients reported very little stigmatization.
Conclusion The diagnostic label of mental illness may render the person vulnerable to stigmatization. Possible causes of stigma and ways of reducing stigma are discussed.
Keywords: mental illness, negative perception, stigma
Singapore Med J 2001; 42(3): 111-114