The relationship between terminology preferences, empowerment and internalised stigma in mental health
Issues in Mental Health Nursing
Taylor and Francis
School of Nursing and Midwifery / Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Services Research
People with a mental illness may be exposed to stigma which, when internalised, negatively influences self-esteem, personal goal attainment and quality of life. However, people who are empowered may actively challenge stigma by engaging in meaningful opportunities, furthering their self-worth as they achieve control within their lives. People who are empowered through active treatment participation are more likely to reach recovery goals and experience the benefits of evidence-based practices. Hence, empowerment can be viewed as essential to the recovery and well-being of people with a mental illness. Participants in this quantitative study (N = 173) were diagnosed with a mental illness and were recruited via convenience sampling from mental health support groups in Australia. Internalised stigma was less common and empowerment more prevalent in this study than was found in previous studies. However high internalised stigma and low empowerment were present. The terms ‘individual’ and ‘person with lived experience’ which have been identified as the preferred terms in a previous study were highlighted as both empowering and recovery focussed.