Issues of stigma for first responders accessing support for post traumatic stress

Int J Emerg Ment Health. Spring 2009;11(2):79-85.

Abstract

The literature shows that individuals with mental health problems are subjected to discrimination, prejudice, and ignorance and are significantly stigmatized Stigma occurs when elements of labelling, stereotyping, cognitive separation into categories of 'us' and 'them,' status loss, and discrimination co-occur This article considers how stigma affects those with mental health problems and describes the experience of an individual police officer seeking and engaging with psychological support services following a traumatic event. The impact of issues of stigma on the therapy is described. The article further considers what may help to combat stigma and discrimination within the police culture and therefore ease the path to support for police officers.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology*
  • Occupational Diseases / therapy*
  • Police*
  • Prejudice
  • Social Support
  • Stress Disorders, Traumatic / psychology*
  • Stress Disorders, Traumatic / therapy*