Stigma Associated with Seeking Psychiatric Care Among the General Population of Islamabad, Pakistan




Stigma, Mental illness, psychiatrist, religious clerics


Background: The foundations of a good life encompass both physical and mental health. Mental health stigma, any negative belief motivating fear or discrimination against individuals with mental illness, is a significant barrier to seeking help. This study aims to determine the prevalence of stigma associated with consulting psychiatrists for mental health issues.

Methodology: In this cross-sectional study, data was collected from 600 participants from the general population of Islamabad, Pakistan, using non-probability convenient sampling. A self-constructed, self-administered questionnaire was utilized for data collection, with analysis conducted using the chi-square test, frequencies, and valid percentages.

Results: Of the participants, 398 (66.6%) were male and 200 (33.4%) were female. Educational levels included matric 69 (11.8%), Inter 82 (14%), Bachelor 173 (29.6%), and Masters & above 199 (34%). Results revealed that 205 (34.9%) participants perceived stigma associated with seeking psychiatric help, 422 (72.5%) viewed it as a sign of weakness, and 376 (65.4%) believed mentally ill patients could pose a danger to others. Regarding treatment preferences, 491 (88.0%) preferred psychiatrists, 38 (6.8%) favored religious leaders, and only 29 (5.2%) preferred confiding in family or friends.

Conclusion: While there is a decrease in stigma associated with seeking psychiatric consultation with higher educational attainment, significant stigma persists, particularly among males, attributed to cultural constraints. Despite this, there is a strong inclination towards seeking professional help for psychiatric illnesses, irrespective of religious beliefs.




How to Cite

Javed MA, Ahsan W, Khattak UK, Afzal S. Stigma Associated with Seeking Psychiatric Care Among the General Population of Islamabad, Pakistan. Pak J Public Health [Internet]. 2024 Mar. 29 [cited 2024 Jun. 14];14(1):33-7. Available from: