The Psychological Distress and Mental Health Disorders from COVID-19 Stigmatization in Ghana
22 Pages Posted: 13 May 2020 Publication Status: Under Review
The emergence of the COVID-19 global pandemic in Ghana has resulted in various degrees of stigma against COVID-19 patients, suspected COVID-19 persons, frontline health workers, foreigners, and Ghanaian returnees from COVID-19 hotspot countries and their respective families. This has resulted in the development of mild to severe forms of psychological distress and/or mental disorders. The purpose of the study was to investigate the cases of stigmatization and propose effective intervention strategies to help prevent COVID-19 stigma. The study was undertaken using phenomenology, which is a psychological qualitative research approach. Purposive and snowball sampling techniques were used in recruiting the twenty-eight study participants. Data were garnered using personal interviews and focus group discussions. Data were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. The findings revealed that COVID-19 victims have faced various forms of stigma such as stereotyping, social exclusion, mockery, finger-pointing, and insults. This has resulted in mild to severe forms of psychological distress and mental health disorders for the COVID-19 victims. The study recommends that the COVID-19 National Response Team in Ghana must put in place a robust psychosocial intervention plan for stigmatized persons to help them cope with the stigma and help in its prevention.
Ethical Approval: Not needed
Funding: No funding to declare
Declaration of Interest: No conflict of interest for the paper.
Keywords: stigmatization, psychological distress, psychotherapy, mental health disorders, Covid-19
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