Though most mental health care today occurs in community settings, including primary care, research on mental illness stigma tends to focus on hospitalization or severe mental illness. While stigma negatively impacts the health of those with a range of mental problems, relatively little research examines how providers work with clients to confront and manage mental illness stigma. Calling on 28 interviews with providers in a range of mental health care settings, this paper reveals providers’ roles in managing mental illness stigma. Findings reveal that mental illness stigma is an important factor in treatment across settings and severity and that providers play important roles in common client stigma management strategies. Data show two major sets of strategies of working with clients on stigma: normalization and brokering/buffering. Professional stigma management is a key mental health care practice and needs to be studied as such.
Kerry Michael Dobransky
Society and Mental Health, February 9, 2018