Iranian Journal of Psychiatry 2017. 12(3):163-171.

Stigma barriers of mental health in Iran: A qualitative study by stakeholders of mental health.
arsia taghva, zahra farsi, yavar javanmard, afsaneh atashi, ahmad hajebi, mojgan khademi


Background: Many people who accesses mental health services usually do not seek treatment to avoid the consequences of stigma and label of mental illness. Determining each of these aspects related to stigma reduction barriers seems necessarily.

Objective: A qualitative study was undertaken to investigate stigma reduction barriers toward mental disorders in Iran.

Methodology: The present study used content analysis and was carried out from 2013 to 2015. All stakeholders have been chosen by purposive sampling technique. All data obtained through 16 individual interviews, 2 focus groups and 6 written narratives. The data were collected, coded and analyzed accordingly. 

Results: The major themes were: The universality of stigma, Beliefs, Attitudes and lack of awareness, Mental health providers and other specialists, Cultural barriers, Structures and policy makers, Insufficient financial resources.


Conclusion: It is necessarily to identify the barriers of stigma reduction programs in Iran to increase the quality of life of mental patients. In the present study due to the presence of mental health stakeholders the main barriers have been obtained. 


Stigma reduction, Mental disorders, Mental health, Qualitative research, stigma barriers.

Full Text:



Alem A, Jacobsson L, Hanlon C. Community‐based mental health care in Africa: mental health workers’ views. World Psychiatry. 2008 Feb 1;7(1):54-7.

Alonso J, Buron A, Bruffaerts R, He Y, Posada‐Villa J, Lepine JP, Angermeyer MC, Levinson D, De Girolamo G, Tachimori H, Mneimneh ZN. Association of perceived stigma and mood and anxiety disorders: results from the World Mental Health Surveys. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 2008 Oct 1;118(4):305-14.

Alonso J, Buron A, Rojas-Farreras S, De Graaf R, Haro JM, De Girolamo G, Bruffaerts R, Kovess V, Matschinger H, Vilagut G, ESEMeD/MHEDEA 2000 Investigators. Perceived stigma among individuals with common mental disorders. Journal of affective disorders. 2009 Nov 30;118(1):180-6.

Akighir A. Traditional and modern psychiatry: a survey of opinions and beliefs amongst people in plateau state, Nigeria. International Journal of Social Psychiatry. 1982 Sep 1;28(3):203-9.

Aviram RB, Brodsky BS, Stanley B. Borderline personality disorder, stigma, and treatment implications. Harvard review of psychiatry. 2006 Jan 1;14(5):249-56.

Ay P, Save D, Fidanoglu O. Does stigma concerning mental disorders differ through medical education?. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology. 2006 Jan 1;41(1):63-7.

Bolden L, Wicks MN. Length of stay, admission types, psychiatric diagnoses, and the implications of stigma in African Americans in the nationwide inpatient sample. Issues in Mental Health Nursing. 2005 Jan 1;26(10):1043-59.

Corbin J, Strauss A. Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Sage publications; 2014 Nov 25.

Corrigan PW, Druss BG, Perlick DA. The impact of mental illness stigma on seeking and participating in mental health care. Psychological Science in the Public Interest. 2014 Oct 1;15(2):37-70.

Corrigan PW, Rowan D, Green A, Lundin R, River P, Uphoff-Wasowski K, White K, Kubiak MA. Challenging two mental illness stigmas: Personal responsibility and dangerousness. Schizophrenia bulletin. 2002;28(2):293.

Corrigan P. How stigma interferes with mental health care. American psychologist. 2004 Oct;59(7):614.

Corrigan P. On the stigma of mental illness. American Psychological Association.; 2005.

Croghan TW, Tomlin M, Pescosolido BA, Schnittker J, Martin J, Lubell K, Swindle R. American attitudes toward and willingness to use psychiatric medications. The Journal of nervous and mental disease. 2003 Mar 1;191(3):166-74.

Clement S, Schauman O, Graham T, Maggioni F, Evans-Lacko S, Bezborodovs N, Morgan C, Rüsch N, Brown JS, Thornicroft G. What is the impact of mental health-related stigma on help-seeking? A systematic review of quantitative and qualitative studies. Psychological medicine. 2015;45(01):11-27.

Dinos S, Stevens S, Serfaty M, Weich S, King M. Stigma: the feelings and experiences of 46 people with mental illness. The British Journal of Psychiatry. 2004 Feb 1;184(2):176-81.

Fiorillo A, Luciano M, Vecchio V, Sampogna G, Obradors‐Tarragó C, Maj M. Priorities for mental health research in Europe: A survey among national stakeholders' associations within the ROAMER project. World Psychiatry. 2013 Jun 1;12(2):165-70.

Gary FA. Stigma: Barrier to mental health care among ethnic minorities. Issues in mental health nursing. 2005 Jan 1;26(10):979-99.

Griffiths KM, Christensen H, Jorm AF. Mental health literacy as a function of remoteness of residence: an Australian national study. BMC Public Health. 2009 Mar 27;9(1):1.

Hanafiah AN, Van Bortel T. A qualitative exploration of the perspectives of mental health professionals on stigma and discrimination of mental illness in Malaysia. International journal of mental health systems. 2015 Mar 10;9(1):1.

Ighodaro A, Stefanovics E, Makanjuola V, Rosenheck R. An assessment of attitudes towards people with mental illness among medical students and physicians in Ibadan, Nigeria. Academic Psychiatry. 2015 Jun 1;39(3):280-5.

Kim SW, Shin IS, Kim JM, Yang SJ, Shin HY, Yoon JS. Association between attitude toward medication and neurocognitive function in schizophrenia. Clinical neuropharmacology. 2006 Jul 1;29(4):197-205.

Kleim B, Vauth R, Adam G, Stieglitz RD, Hayward P, Corrigan P. Perceived stigma predicts low self-efficacy and poor coping in schizophrenia. Journal of Mental Health. 2008 Jan 1;17(5):482-91.

Link BG, Cullen FT, Struening E, Shrout PE, Dohrenwend BP. A modified labeling theory approach to mental disorders: An empirical assessment. American Sociological Review. 1989 Jun 1:400-23.

Mak WW, Cheung FM, Wong SY, Tang WK, Lau JT, Woo J, Lee DT. Stigma towards people with psychiatric disorders. Hong Kong Med J. 2015 Apr;21(2 Supplement 2).

Mueller J, Callanan MM, Greenwood K. Communications to children about mental illness and their role in stigma development: an integrative review. Journal of Mental Health. 2016 Jan 2;25(1):62-70.

Naeem F, Ayub M, Javed Z, Irfan M, Haral F, Kingdon D. Stigma and psychiatric illness. A survey of attitude of medical students and doctors in Lahore, Pakistan. J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad. 2006;18(3):46-9.

Pingani L, Forghieri M, Ferrari S, Ben-Zeev D, Artoni P, Mazzi F, Palmieri G, Rigatelli M, Corrigan PW. Stigma and discrimination toward mental illness: translation and validation of the Italian version of the attribution questionnaire-27 (AQ-27-I). Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology. 2012 Jun 1;47(6):993-9.

Phelan JC, Bromet EJ, Link BG. Psychiatric illness and family stigma. Schizophrenia Bulletin. 1998 Jan 1;24(1):115-26.

Richardson LA. Seeking and obtaining mental health services: What do parents expect?. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing. 2001 Oct 31;15(5):223-31.


Sadighi G, Khodaei MR, Fadai F, Mirabzadeh A, Sadighi A. Self Stigma among People with Bipolar-I Disorder in Iran. Iranian Rehabilitation Journal. 2015;13(1).

Sartorius N. Stigma and mental health. The Lancet. 2007 Sep 14;370(9590):810-1.

Sayarifard A, Ghadirian L, Mohit A, Eftekhar M, Badpa M, Rajabi F. Assessing mental health literacy: What medical sciences students’ know about depression. Medical journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran. 2015;29:161.

Shah-Veysi B, Shoja-Shefti S, Fadaei F, Dolatshahi B. Comparison of Mental Illness Stigmatization in Families of Schizophernic and Major Depressive Disorder Patients without Psychotic Features. Journal of Rehabilitation. 2007 Jun 15;8:21-7.


Thorens G, Gex-Fabry M, Zullino DF, Eytan A. Attitudes toward psychopharmacology among hospitalized patients from diverse ethno-cultural backgrounds. BMC psychiatry. 2008 Jul 9;8(1):1.

Yadav T, Arya K, Kataria D, Balhara YP. Impact of psychiatric education and training on attitude of medical students towards mentally ill: A comparative analysis. Industrial psychiatry journal. 2012 Jan 1; 21(1):22.

Vogel DL, Wade NG, Hackler AH. Perceived public stigma and the willingness to seek counseling: The mediating roles of self-stigma and attitudes toward counseling. Journal of Counseling Psychology. 2007 Jan; 54(1):40.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License which allows users to read, copy, distribute and make derivative works for non-commercial purposes from the material, as long as the author of the original work is cited properly.