Stigma toward mental illness among higher secondary school teachers in Puducherry, South India


This paper was published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care in April 2019. It is written by academics Surendran Venkataraman and Rajkumar Patil from the Department of Community Medicine, and Sivaprakash Balasundaram from the Department of Psychiatry at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Puducherry.

The paper focuses on the prevalence of stigma towards mental illness among secondary school teachers. The research was conducted in Puducherry from April 2017 to March 2018, and included 566 higher secondary teachers across 46 government and private schools. Mentally ill people, the paper states, are labelled as “different” from other people and are viewed negatively. The factors influencing higher stigma was younger age, male gender, urban school location, and less teaching experience.

This seven-page document includes an Introduction (Section 1); Materials and Methods (Section 2); Results (Section 3); Discussion (Section 4); and Conclusion (Section 5).


  1. According to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, in India about 150 million individuals above 18 years are suffering from a mental disorder that require active interventions.

  2. In India, about 70 per cent of adolescents experiencing mental health symptoms endure them, with 50 per cent not completing high school. The data is cited from a report from the Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh.

  3. A “vignette” can be a hypothetical story or situation inserted into a survey and is often used to elicit information about values, beliefs, and perceived societal norms from participants. The paper states that about 70 per cent of higher secondary school teachers showed agreement to “stigma toward a depressive case vignette.”

  4. The participants in the survey were asked to rate how strongly they agreed to attitudes and beliefs (personal stigma) described in the vignette. As high as 73 per cent respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the case in the vignette is ‘weak’.

  5. The paper recommends structured mental health education programs for teachers, emphasizing continuous learning and early intervention strategies to combat stigma and improve attitudes towards mental health in schools.

    Focus and Factoids by Rhea Chalak.

    PARI Library's health archive project is part of an initiative supported by the Azim Premji University to develop a free-access repository of health-related reports relevant to rural India.


Surendran Venkataraman, Rajkumar Patil and Sivaprakash Balasundaram


Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care


Apr, 2019