Journal List > J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc > v.55(4) > 1017812

J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc. 2016 Nov;55(4):299-309. Korean.
Published online November 30, 2016.
Copyright © 2016 Korean Neuropsychiatric Association
The Stigma of Mental Illness in Korea
Jong-Ik Park, MD, PhD, LLM,1,2 and Mina Jeon, BSc3
1Department of Psychiatry, Kangwon National University School of Medicine, Chuncheon, Korea.
2Chuncheon National Hospital, Chuncheon, Korea.
3Department of Mental Health Research, National Center for Mental Health, Seoul, Korea.

Address for correspondence: Jong-Ik Park, MD, PhD, LLM. Department of Psychiatry, Kangwon National University School of Medicine, 156 Baengnyeong-ro, Chuncheon 24289, Korea. Tel +82-33-258-9171, Fax +82-33-254-1376, Email:
Received July 26, 2016; Revised August 16, 2016; Accepted September 08, 2016.


The stigma of mental illness is a problem that should be addressed urgently as such stigma has a negative effect on the lives of individuals with mental disorders, which may result in social and economic losses. Moreover, mental health stigma acts as a barrier to mental health service utilization. Thus, the need to reduce the mental health stigma has been highlighted. In Korea, stigma associated with individuals with mental disorders has been studied; however, few of those studies investigated mental health literacy, which might influence an individual's attitudes toward and beliefs about people with mental disorders. Furthermore, there are fewer evidence-based anti-stigma campaigns and programs in Korea than in other countries. On that basis, a review of previous studies focusing on mental disorder stigma was undertaken, and the effects of such stigma on individuals with mental disorders and on society were assessed. In addition, research into mental health literacy, rarely undertaken in South Korea, was discussed. Finally, anti-stigma campaigns that are reportedly effective in reducing mental illness stigma were reviewed. With regard to future research on mental health stigma in South Korea, it is suggested that researchers study mental health literacy to assess accurately the public's misperceptions about mental disorders. In addition, a variety of evidence-based anti-stigma campaigns should be implemented to increase public knowledge of mental disorders. Lastly, cooperation between public and private sectors should be encouraged to develop strategies for reducing the stigma and negative beliefs associated with mental disorders.

Keywords: Mental illness; Mental health literacy; Stigma


Conflicts of Interest:The authors have no financial conflicts of interest.

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