Experiences of stigma and discrimination among users of mental health services in Poland
Stigmatization is commonly recognized as one of the main barriers to recovery and to social inclusion of people with mental illnesses. This exploratory study investigated the frequency, type, and sources of actual stigma and discrimination experiences among Polish psychiatric patients. A total of 442 people, treated in various psychiatric health care facilities in Warsaw, were interviewed with the use of the Consumer Experiences of Stigma Questionnaire (CESQ). Qualitative data regarding sources of experienced stigma were also obtained. The respondents reported relatively frequent experiences of stigmatization in everyday situations and interpersonal relations, but they seldom complained of any specific instances of discrimination. The most frequently reported source of stigma was employers and supervisors at work, followed by family, and general community members. Implications of the findings for clinical practice and policy are discussed.