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Surviving the stigma: lessons learnt for the prevention of COVID-19 stigma and its mental health impact

Shweta Singh (Department of Psychiatry, King George’s Medical University, Lucknow, India)
Saniya Bhutani (Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi, India)
Huma Fatima (Department of Psychiatry, King George’s Medical University, Lucknow, India)

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

ISSN: 2042-8308

Article publication date: 29 June 2020

Issue publication date: 21 August 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The spread of novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has affected more than four million lives worldwide. Unfortunately, incidents of stigmatisation associated with COVID-19 are being reported worldwide. Studies conducted during and after public health emergencies because of communicable diseases have highlighted the development of stigmatisation and associated mental health consequences. This study aims to explore the past pandemics and current incidents of stigmatisation to understand COVID-19 stigma, its mental health impact and how they can be prevented by using primary and secondary prevention methods.

Design/methodology/approach

Researches were shortlisted using keywords such as “infectious diseases and mental health”, “COVID 19 stigma and mental health”, “Contagious disease stigma” and “mental health of survivors”.

Findings

Studies conducted during and after public health emergencies because of communicable diseases have highlighted the development of stigmatisation and associated mental health consequences. The emphasis is on universal prevention of stigmatization. Early psychological intervention may reduce the long-term psychological effects of the illness and reduction of stigma may contribute to treatment.

Originality/value

This paper predicts the chances of stigmatisation that COVID-19 survivors may face and possible strategies to prevent it.

Keywords

Citation

Singh, S., Bhutani, S. and Fatima, H. (2020), "Surviving the stigma: lessons learnt for the prevention of COVID-19 stigma and its mental health impact", Mental Health and Social Inclusion, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 145-149. https://doi.org/10.1108/MHSI-05-2020-0030

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited