Stigmatization of patients with mental health disorders by non-psychiatric health workers at a large teaching hospital in Accra
Background: Mental health service users are not only stigmatized by the general public but by health professionals as well.
Objective: To assess the presence of stigmatization among non- psychiatric health professionals in a tertiary hospital in Accra.
Design: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study Setting: Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Accra
Participants: Doctors, pharmacists and nurses
Results: Stigmatization was present among non-psychiatric health workers in KBTH with a mean OMS-HC score of 35.0. There was no statistical difference between the mean scores of females and males (35.7 vs 35.0 respectively, p value= 0.144). Pharmacists and nurses had more stigmatizing attitude (37.0 and 37.2 respectively) than doctors (34.0) (p value=0.001). Respondents between the ages of 34 to 44 years had the most stigmatizing attitude (35.4) followed by those between 23 to 33 years (35.3). With respect to working experience, those who had worked for 10 years and more as well as respondents that had worked for a year or less had a more stigmatizing attitude with a score of 36.0. The major reasons why health professionals stigmatize include inadequate knowledge on mental disorders and how to approach them (79.5%) and fear of patients with mental illness (52%).
Conclusion: Institutional approach to reduce stigma among non-psychiatric health workers towards mental health service users is urgently needed.