"Mad, sick, head nuh good": mental illness stigma in Jamaican communities

Transcult Psychiatry. 2010 Apr;47(2):252-75. doi: 10.1177/1363461510368912.


Stigma may be an important factor in mental health service seeking and utilization. However, little work on stigma has been conducted in developing nations in the Caribbean, including Jamaica. We explored mental illness stigma in Jamaica by conducting focus groups with 16 community samples. Four overarching conceptual themes are discussed: (1) community members' definitions of stigma; (2) emotional responses towards those with mental illness, such as fear and love; (3) behavioral responses towards those with mental illness, including avoidance and cautious approach; and (4) perceptions of and beliefs about mental illness, including a distinction between "madness" and "mental illness."

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Dangerous Behavior
  • Emotions
  • Empathy
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Jamaica
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / ethnology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prejudice*
  • Psychological Distance
  • Social Values
  • Stereotyping
  • Young Adult