Perceptions of stigma and care receipt among youth who self-harm and have received mental health treatment in a hospital setting

Mitten, Nicole
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation of youths’ experiences with stigma and care receipt. Stigma within the context of mental illness, which has been conceptualized as negative attitudes held against someone with mental illness (Stuart, Arboleda-Florez, & Sartorius, 2012) and care receipt have been explored in adult clinical populations; however, these experiences have not been widely explored with adolescent clinical populations who self-harm from the point of view of the youth. Using a cross-sectional design, open-ended interviews were conducted with 12 adolescents (14-19 years, 83% female) and examined using a content analysis. Results indicated that youth have experiences of both positive and negative care receipt, and of stigma from both clinicians and other patients. Youth were able to provide an enriching perspective on the functions of self-harm, the characteristics that make a good and bad care provider and details on common stigmatizing reactions. Future goals of researchers could include the reduction of negative care experiences and stigma in healthcare settings to provide the best chance of success for youth engaging in self-harm.

self-harm, self-injury, stigma, care receipt, positive experiences of care, negative experiences of care, clinical population, adolescents, hospitalization, receipt of care, NSSI, mental health, mental health stigma, stigma from clinicians, health care professionals, emergency room, self as stigmatizer, clinician stigma, functions of self-harm, functions, experiences of self-harm, experiences of self-injury, qualitative research