Perceived Stigmatisation in Patients With Depression in Pakistan: a Qualitative Analysis
1University of the Punjab, Centre for Clinical Psychology, Lahore, Pakistan
The stigma associated with depression is a major concern for patients with depression. Patients experience the double burden of poor mental health as well as stigma associated with mental illness. The study explored stigmatized experiences of patients with major depression through case studies. In-depth interviews were conducted with patients (N=3; Age range=25-40 yrs.) living with major depression. Data was analysed by applying an interpretative phenomenological approach. The analysis revealed that individuals frequently experience negative attitudes from family members, relatives and friends; harsh temperaments and intolerance of husbands; discriminatory comments the generic public and social exclusion and isolation. Participants expressed that family members perceived them as burdens both emotionally and financially. It was also reported that stigma impacted on access to health services. Findings highlight the significant impact of mental illness stigma in Pakistan on health service utilization patterns and behaviours. There is an important need to address negative public perceptions of major depression through educating families, community and health professionals in primary care health settings.