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‘We've got another one for you!’ Liaison psychiatry's experience of stigma towards patients with mental illness and mental health professionals

  • Jim Bolton (a1)
Abstract
Aims and method

To assess stigmatising attitudes towards mental illness and psychiatric professionals experienced by UK liaison psychiatry staff. A questionnaire asked about the impact of these events on patient care and for suggestions for tackling stigma in the general hospital.

Results

Out of 72 multidisciplinary respondents, over three-quarters had experienced stigmatising attitudes towards mental illness by general hospital colleagues at least monthly. Two-thirds reported instances where stigmatisation had an adverse impact on patient care, and over a quarter reported stigmatising attitudes towards mental health professionals. Suggestions for combating stigma included educational initiatives, clear clinical communication, and the provision of high-quality liaison services.

Clinical implications

Liaison psychiatry is well placed to both recognise and combat stigma in the general hospital. This can help to ensure that patient care is comprehensive, safe and respectful.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Jim Bolton (jim.bolton@swlstg-tr.nhs.uk)
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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1 Thornicroft, G, Rose, D, Mehta, N. Discrimination against people with mental illness: what can psychiatrists do? Adv Psychiatr Treat 2010; 16: 53–9.
2 Sartorius, N. Stigma: what can psychiatrists do about it? Lancet 1998; 352: 1058–9.
3 Bolton, J. How can we reduce the stigma of mental illness? BMJ Careers 2003; 326: s579.
4 Mukherjee, R, Fialho, A, Wijetunge, A, Checinski, K, Surgenor, T. The stigmatisation of psychiatric illness: the attitudes of medical students and doctors in a London teaching hospital. Psychiatr Bull 2002; 26: 178–81.
5 Liggins, J, Hatcher, S. Stigma towards the mentally ill in the general hospital: a qualitative study. Gen Hosp Psychiatry 2005; 27: 359–64.
6 Barrett, DS. Are orthopaedic surgeons gorillas? BMJ 1998; 297: 1638–9.
7 Curtis-Barton, MT, Eagles, JM. Factors that discourage medical students from pursuing a career in psychiatry. Psychiatrist 2011; 35: 425–9.
8 Graber, MA, Bergus, G, Dawson, JD, Wood, GB, Levy, BT, Levin, I. Effect of a patient's psychiatric history on physicians' estimation of probability of disease. J Gen Intern Med 2000; 15: 204–6.
9 Byrne, P. Challenging healthcare discrimination. Commentary on … Discrimination against people with mental illness. Adv Psychiatr Treat 2010; 16: 60–2.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 1758-3209
  • EISSN: 1758-3217
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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‘We've got another one for you!’ Liaison psychiatry's experience of stigma towards patients with mental illness and mental health professionals

  • Jim Bolton (a1)
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