Assessment of Stigma-by-Association amongst Nurses Working in Mental Health Units
Context: Stigma-by-association affects not only people with mental health problems and psychiatric patients or their families but also nurses working in the mental health field. Stigma-by-association among nurses working in mental health units can lead to some nurses feeling ashamed and embarrassed when discussing their work.
Aim: To assess stigma-by-association amongst nurses working in mental health units.
Methods: Descriptive, cross-sectional design was utilized to achieve the aim of this study. The study was conducted at a governmental psychiatric and mental health hospital and two private general hospitals that were not specialized in psychiatric health but had mental health units in Jeddah City. A convenience sampling technique was implemented. The data were collected from 160 registered nurses working in mental health units. The study tools included the Clinician Associative Stigma Scale (CASS) used to measure stigma-by-association among nurses working in mental health units; it consists of 18 statements. Besides, two open-ended questions to measure suggestions and embarrassing situations of nurses working in mental health units about stigma-by- association.
Results: The result of the current study revealed that embarrassing situations occurred to nurses working in mental health units that have caused the stigma-by-association. Nurses in both hospitals display a moderate level of stigma by association with a mean percentage of 65.68% among nurses in the government hospital and 69.4% among nurses in the private hospital. The nurses have also suggested that families, patients, and society could be educated on mental illnesses and the role of mental health nurses.
Conclusions: This study concludes that the nurses working in mental health units in both government and private hospitals had a moderate stigma-by-association level. Stigma by association among nurses who work in mental health units has also been found to be related to age and years of experience. The study highlighted that psychiatry workshops could help nurses working in the mental health field. Future research is required to identify the causes of stigma-by-association among nurses working in mental health units in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
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