It’s been a long time since mental illness has existed in the public domain and it does also exist in Healthcare Workers and Providers (HCPs) which acts as a barrier to mental health service use. Stigma among health workers has been in focus for global public health problems.
What Exactly is Stigma
Stigma refers to a social process that is characterized by labeling, separation, and stereotyping which leads to status loss and discrimination. Stigma is brought to bear on individuals both in health and non-health differences.
Health condition stigma related to the specific diseases can be experienced in any phase of life. This can be very negative for those who are seeking medical services because they are more vulnerable at that point in time. In health facilities, stigma is widely documented, ranging from outright denial of care, physical and verbal abuse, to more subtle forms, such as making certain people wait longer or passing their care off to junior colleagues. This acts as a barrier to those who are taking treatments for acute or chronic diseases or to live a healthy lifestyle.
Stigma also impacts the well being of the healthcare workers because healthcare workers may also be living in stigmatized conditions.
While acknowledging that stigma is context-dependent, health stigmas in health facilities often show similar features across countries and circumstances with regard to some stigma generators, causes, and implications. This is especially true of stigma generators, or factors that are known to create or cause stigma. Popular factors inside healthcare facilities may include pessimistic behaviors, anxiety, biases, lack of knowledge of both the disorder itself and stigma, failure to treat the disorder professionally, and institutionalized processes or activities.
Health care staff can be fearful of illness, stigmatized group habits (such as opioid use or irregular or disruptive actions), or of the condition-related mortality. They can also feel emotional anxiety based on their personal rejection of disease-related practices, which may lead to stigmatizing responses that hinder their capacity to be successful providers.
Healthcare staff may be oblivious of how stigma occurs and impacts patients, and may thus not be aware of the stigmatizing consequences of their behavior, or how the practices or systems of healthcare institutions impact clients. Failure to educate about the disorder can also create stigma.
For example, transmission misconceptions may drive stigmatizing, unnecessary precautions (e.g., double gloving, unnecessary quarantine), while disbelief in the curability of some stigmatized conditions may bias the provision of care. Lacking knowledge about how to provide care for a specific condition, or lacking confidence in one’s ability to do so, may result in poor quality or discriminatory care.
Some groups who might have experienced Stigma during this Coronavirus pandemic are:
1.Emergency workers or providers and emergency responders
2.People who had Covid-19 or have now recovered and have been released from quarantine centers.
3.Certain racial and ethnic minority groups, including Asian Americans and black or African Americans.
4. People who have any kind of disabilities and or behavioral disorders may have difficulties in following schedules.
5.People living in congregate groups, such as people experiencing homelessness.
We all know that Stigma hurts everyone who suffers these kinds of illnesses or any disabilities and creates more frustration and anger towards normal people. They tend to forget their own disease and how they can cure it. They can also hide their symptoms and will not seek medical attention which then will make their condition worse.
Approach to Reduce Stigma
There are various strategies that have been taken to reduce Stigma are as follows:
- Teaching participants about his/her condition or teaching and awaring them about stigma perspective
- Contact with stigma groups, people should interact and get involved with members of stigmatized groups in the delivery of the interventions to develop empathy, humanize the stigmatized individual, and break down stereotypes.
- Involving in activities which build up your skills and creating opportunities for the members in which they will be actively engaged.
- The approach responses to “structural” or “economic reform” involved modifying procedures, procurement of health services, redress processes, and renovation of facilities.
Bringing Stigma Methods into Work
Different ways were implemented to reduce the stigma that we described above. If talking about non-structural approaches they were delivered in the form of technology, clinical placement, and clerkships for students. Future investment in stigma reduction should prioritize conditions that have been overlooked in the recent literature.
The contact approach included exposing the health facility members to the living condition of stigmatized members. The mechanisms of these controlled exposures were through performances, discussions, participatory activities, or facilitated clinical placements. Across these sets of ongoing efforts, which address different health condition stigmas, several factors are being recognized as key to the interventions.
Despite all these approaches and methods that were implemented in reducing stigma in healthcare facilities and for its negative impact on the individual’s health, relatively few interventions exist to be an obstruction for this major problem.
Stigma not only affcts only those who are living with stigmatized living conditions but it also affects the whole health care system. It is important to prioritize the reduction of stigma because it has the ability to improve the healthcare working conditions and environment, the quality care given by the healthcare workers, and at last improving the living conditions of stigmatized members.