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Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría

Print version ISSN 0034-7450


CARDENAS MANCERA, Katherine; DE SANTACRUZ, Cecilia  and  SALAMANCA, Mayra Alejandra. "Accepting Demented Minds". Opinion Group, Information and Support on Stigma of Mental Illness on Facebook. rev.colomb.psiquiatr. [online]. 2014, vol.43, n.3, pp.139-145. ISSN 0034-7450.

Introduction: Mental illness is one of the diseases that generates more disability worldwide, and it is estimated that one in four people has or has had this kind of illness during their lives. Since the beginning, mental illness has been frequently linked to stigma and prejudice, which has important implications for the exercise of their human rights, including the right to health, as these preconceptions can delay their early detection and timely treatment. Eliminating stigma requires multiple interventions, in which the participation of people with these illnesses can be very helpful. Social networks portray an alternative for them and for people interested in this topic, helping them interact, clarify some concerns and doubts, and perhaps even modify their exclusion status. Method: Describing the experience of the opinion and support group on Facebook called "Aceptando mentes dementes" ("Accepting Demented Minds"), created for people with mental illnesses, their families and any person interested in this matter, which seeks to make the impact and consequences that result from stigma more noticable. Analysis of qualitative and quantitative data collected over two and a half years of operation of the group, formed by 764 members from different countries. Results: The aims of the group, as regards the spreading of information, interaction through shared experiences, and obtaining support were reached. Conclusions: Social networks allow the creation of communities that share specific needs, such as understanding and support, and all this at low cost. Knowing and being conscious about the stigma linked to mental illness helps raise awareness and generate options for change. To maintain and link it to other resources, the group will be included in the web site

Keywords : Mental illness; Stigma; Social networks; Facebook.

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