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A Literature Review of Healthcare Professionals’ Attitudes towards Patients with Mental Illness

Background: The purpose of this review of literature is to examine the problem of stigma and discrimination in the provision of mental health care. The author will review the literature available from research and assessments in relation to this topic as well as the problems faced in research and proposed solutions to this phenomenon. Topics requiring further research into bettering the situation of both the patient and the health care service provider will be highlighted.

Objective: To inventory and organize the peer-reviewed literature related to attitudes of health professionals towards the mentally ill and to identify shifts in research focus from risk evaluation to intervention and reduction. To consider research directions with clear applications for improved care and care outcomes.

Methods: A comprehensive review of the peer-reviewed literature was conducted to retrieve empirical studies that addressed attitudes of health professionals towards the mentally ill. A matrix was created to determine the capacity, quality, and characteristics of 47 research studies conducted between 1996 and 2014, all pertaining to attitudes of health professionals towards patients with mental illness.

Results: A synthesis of these empirical studies revealed an emerging literature related to attitudes of healthcare professionals towards the mentally ill and the consequences of limited information focusing on patients’ perspectives.

Conclusions: Amid growing trends in numerous countries of healthcare professionals’ negative attitudes towards the mentally ill, the need for further research is clear. Researchers must fill gaps in literature concerning appropriate strategies and techniques to minimize negative attitudes among healthcare providers.

Author(s): Waleed Alshahrani

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