Exploration of the Causation of Stigmatization of Mental Illness in Thailand Perceptions of Thai University Students

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Nipawan Pitakchinnapong
Douglas Rhein


This ethnographic study explores the perceptions of the causation of stigmatization of mental illness in Thailand. This article begins with an overview of the current state of mental health in Thailand and a description of the stigmatization of those suffering from mental health conditions. This is followed by the findings that emerged from interviews with forty college students from an undergraduate Social Science faculty. The forty participants were separated into two groups based on their educational program. The first group consisted of twenty students from a Social Science Faculty at Mahidol University International College, and the second group of twenty students represented a Social Science Faculty from a Thai program at Mahidol University. The findings indicate that while the participants in both groups claimed that they do not stigmatize mental health sufferers, they felt that as a whole, Thai society still does. The participants argued that most Thais still hold negative perceptions of mental illness due to the influences of family, media, and education. The study is descriptive in nature and aims to illustrate the participants’ perceptions of the causes of mental health stigmatization.

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