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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


NUNES, Mônica  and  TORRENTE, Maurice de. Stigma and violence in dealing with madness: narratives from psychosocial care centers in Bahia and Sergipe, Northeastern Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2009, vol.43, suppl.1, pp.101-108. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze stigmatization processes and types of violence experienced by individuals with mental disorders. METHODS: A qualitative study was carried out, based on individual interviews with users and focus groups with family members and professionals at five psychosocial care centers in the municipalities of Itaberaba, Lauro de Freitas, Salvador, Vitória da Conquista, and Aracaju, Northeastern Brazil, in 2006-2007. The analysis categories were constructed based on the stigma concept proposed by Goffman, and four types of violence were systematized: interpersonal, institutional, symbolic and structural. RESULTS: Users and family members recounted examples of disqualification, reprimands, embarrassment, humiliation, negligence and physical aggression that had the aims of domination, exploitation and oppression. Professionals reported that people who suffer from mental disorders remain the target of prejudice that is culturally ingrained and naturalized. The main consequence is continuation of their isolation from social life as a form of "treatment" or as an excluding attitude manifested by discriminatory reactions in the form of rejection, indifference and verbal or physical aggressiveness. CONCLUSIONS: The various ways of expressing stigma denote a sociocultural situation of violence against individuals with mental disorders. It is proposed that state monitoring bodies capable of planning and evaluating countermeasures against stigmatization should be set up.

Keywords : Mentally Ill Persons [psychology]; Professional-Patient Relations; Professional-Family Relations; Stereotyping; Prejudice; Hostility; Violence; Mental Health Services; Qualitative Research.

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