BACKGROUND: Stigma associated with mental illnesses is one of the principal causes for mentally ill people not receiving adequate mental health care and treatment. The study was conducted to assess the extent of stigma associated with mental illness and knowledge of mental illness among the community.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Community-based, cross-sectional study was conducted among 445 respondents from Udupi district; the community attitude toward the mentally ill (CAMI) scale was used to assess stigma. The probability proportional to sampling size technique was adopted to select the wards/blocks. Household from blocks/wards were selected using convenience sampling. Self- administered semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect the information. Data was analyzed using the software SPSS version 15.
RESULTS: Of the total 445 respondents, the prevalence of stigma toward mentally ill people was 74.61% (95% confidence interval, 0.7057, 0.7866). The prevalence of stigma was high under all the four domains of CAMI scale. High prevalence of stigma was seen among females and people with higher income.
CONCLUSIONS: The overall prevalence of stigma toward PWMI was found to be high. The stigma toward PWMI was associated with gender with respect to AU, BE and CMHI. Hence, the study suggests that there is a strong need to eliminate stigma associated with mental illness to improve the mental health status of the region.