• Justus Twesigye Stellenbosch University
  • Ashraf Kagee Psychology Department, Stellenbosch University



stigma, discrimination, patients, care providers, bipolar 1 disorder, Uganda


Stigma is often associated with low levels of mental health literacy among members of the public and it is a significant barrier to care-seeking and utilisation of psychiatric care. Because little is known about the experience of stigma associated with psychiatric illness in Uganda, we investigated this phenomenon among patients diagnosed with bipolar I disorder and their care providers in western Uganda. A case study design and a qualitative approach were adopted. In-depth individual interviews were conducted with the participants and data were analysed using the thematic data analysis method. We found that stigma was expressed in the form of derogatory labels and social exclusion from public life. As a consequence, patients were inhibited from seeking and utilising psychiatric care while adherence and recovery were undermined. Our results suggest a need for interventions targeted at addressing stigma and its consequences to promote care-seeking, utilisation, adherence and recovery among people with psychiatric illness. Psychiatric care should thus be conceptualised broadly to include psychosocial interventions such as psycho-education and community sensitisation focused on patients, families and the broader community.


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How to Cite

Twesigye, Justus, and Ashraf Kagee. 2016. “PATIENTS’ AND CARE PROVIDERS’ EXPERIENCES OF STIGMA ASSOCIATED WITH BIPOLAR I DISORDER IN UGANDA”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 28 (2):203-17.