Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

Date Information

May 2015

Department

School of Nursing

First Advisor

Hannah Fraley

Abstract

Background: 1 out of every 4 American adults currently have a form of mental illness, while 50% of others will develop a mental disorder at some point in time. Mental illness not only emotionally deteriorates a person; it impairs one’s ability to function daily. Mental illness is highly correlated with other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiac conditions and obesity, as well as homelessness and drug and alcohol dependency. The mentally ill are less likely to access healthcare for treatment due to experienced stigmatization, negative attitudes and stereotypes due to their diagnosis. The aim of this study is to detect and understand the negative attitudes towards the mentally ill, and to recognize how to work towards facilitating change in health care.

Methods: CINAHL databases were searched to identify studies performed relating to the stigmatization of mental illnesses and how negative stereotypes affected patients’ quality of care. Results included data from qualitative and quantitative studies. Out of 171 reviewed papers, 11 met the criteria to perform this literature analysis.

Results: Stigma towards the mentally ill is a prominent theme identified within the literature. Evidence based changes to eliminate stigma and negative attitudes towards mental disorders must be taken to improve quality of care. Understanding experienced stigma among the mentally ill is a first step to promote much-needed changes to health care delivery.

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