When it comes to mental health in Singapore, a strong social stigma still exists. One group of researchers wondered how that stigma differs from one group to another— specifically, from mental health professionals to the general population. How are the attitudes towards mental illness different among those who work with the mentally ill? How are they similar to those of the general population? Find out what the team discovered in their 2017 study.
Possible Attitudes Towards Mental Illness
According to the study, “Attitudes to mental illness can encompass positive attitudes such as acceptance, more neutral attitudes like tolerance, to negative ones such as stigma and even fear.” The research team wanted to find out where a psychologist, professional mental healthcare care provider, or psychiatrist in Singapore might fall on that spectrum.
The Structure of the Study
For this cross-sectional study, the team recruited participants from the Institute of Mental Health. They created a 20-item, 4-factor survey and used an online survey program to collect data from 379 mental health professionals. Later, the team compared their results with those from a similar survey of the general population, which was conducted over a period of one year from March 2014 through April 2015.
Positivity and Support
Fortunately, there were some positive results from the study. Compared to the rest of the population of Singapore, trained mental health professionals at the IMH showed much more positive attitudes towards mental illness in general. They seemed less prejudiced and more tolerant, and they understood the importance of community care and support.
However, when it came to social connections and person relationships, mental health professionals exercised the same social distancing that is common throughout the general population. Although these professionals wanted those suffering from mental illness to have support, they did not want close friendships and intimacy with them.
Professional Vs. Personal Contact
The study pointed out that professional contact with a mentally ill patient is completely different from personal contact in a casual setting. Mental health professionals might be more accepting of family members diagnosed with a mental disorder; but they wouldn’t necessarily seek friendships with mentally ill people outside of their existing family circle. According to the team, more research needs to be done to fully explore this social dynamic.
Acceptance for Mental Health Challenges in Singapore
The struggle for acceptance continues for people with conditions like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, OCD, anxiety, or depression in Singapore. If you are someone who struggles with mental illness, your experience of stigma or rejection can make your anxiety worse. To seek help in a place where you won’t be rejected or stigmatised, call Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic. We offer mental health services such as clinical consultations, psychotherapy, child counselling, art therapy, hypnotherapy, EMDR, and much more. Our caring team of mental health professionals will welcome you into a secure, confidential space where you can be accepted and helped.
Article by Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic Blog Team