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The Stigma of mental illness, the unintended learning outcomes

The Stigma of mental illness, the unintended learning outcomes

During a research about Stigma, we learned a lot in addition to the research itself
On writing a paper about Stigma of mental illness; http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fpsyt.2014.00166/abstract the initial aims was to find whether some psychiatric diagnoses are stigmatised more than others or not. However, other findings emerged that were unexpected during the peroid of preparation, work, submission and post-submission. This is an attempt to address findings that seem of interest but cannot be quantified.

One of the very first things that I discovered was the importance of team work. Not only the division of who does what with regards to the paper, but also with regards to motivation, thinking, support, sustaining energy to carry on working. The number of the research team, included represents those who worked in the research but other members like the secretary who typed parts of the research, the office boy who photocopied the structured interview form and many others who made this work possible. The amount of work, and specialisation among team member, helped me to understand that the image of a solitary scientist, may not be the optimal environment for work.

Many findings were surprising as finding that the number of male participants exceeds the number of female inpatients in a statistically significant way. The senior researcher, Prof. M.F. El-Islam, cited that similar findings were found elsewhere, and tentatively suggested that it could be due stigma of hospitalisation which can affect the potential for marriage if a young woman was hospitalised in a psychiatric facility.

After finishing the structured interview about stigma, some patients asked if they can have a talk with us about it. I was surprise to learn about the amount of awareness they have about stigma, some mentioned the stigma of receiving medication, and their struggle to hide side effects as fine tremors, masked facies or weight gain. Some mentioned the unusual look when they ask a cab driver to drive them to a psychiatric facility.

As the paper was published I could watch flowing like a drop within the river of publications, and one has nothing to do but, hope for someone else to benefit from it.
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