Title

A Concept Analysis of Stigma Perceived by Military Service Members Who Seek Mental Health Services.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-1-2017

Abstract

PROBLEM: The aim of this concept analysis is to clarify military service members' stigma associated with seeking mental health services (MHS). Since 2001, over 2 million military service members have been deployed for or assigned to support military operations. Many service members develop a mental health concern during or after a deployment. Although researchers have assessed perceptions of stigma associated with accessing MHS, defining stigma is difficult, and conceptual clarity regarding stigma is lagging behind studies focused on its effects.

METHODS: Stigma was explored using Walker and Avant's method of concept analysis. Thirty articles were found in the PsycARTICLES, PsycINFO, and PubMed databases and selected for inclusion and synthesis.

FINDINGS: Military service member stigma is a set of beliefs, based on the member's military and prior civilian enculturation, that seeking MHS would be discrediting or embarrassing, cause harm to career progression, or cause peers or superiors to have decreased confidence in the member's ability to perform assigned duties.

CONCLUSIONS: Nurses are ideally suited and situated to play an important role in decreasing stigma inhibiting service members from seeking MHS. Healthcare providers and civilian and uniformed leaders must communicate the value of seeking MHS to ensure service members' health, unit readiness, and overall force preparedness.

Publication Title

Nursing forum

ISSN

1744-6198

Volume

52

Issue

3

First Page

188

Last Page

195

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