Academic Librarians’ Experiences and Perceptions on Mental Illness Stigma and the Workplace

Erin Burns, Kristin E. C. Green

Abstract

Research has been conducted within academia about faculty members and students who have experienced mental illness from a variety of theoretical perspectives, including disability studies. While this research acknowledges that the stigma surrounding mental illness keeps people from sharing their experiences, there has not been research that focused specifically on librarians in higher education. This study sought to determine if mental illness stigma affects academic librarians and their professional environments, including teaching and providing services for students, using a survey modeled on one from the psychological literature. The responses revealed that stigma greatly influences academic librarians, particularly with regards to disclosure. An allowance for disclosure without the fear of stigmatization would not only help librarians, but would also help other members of our academic communities. Sharing these survey results can begin to fill a gap that exists in the literature between librarians experiencing mental illness, the stigma that they experience because of it, and changing our academic culture.

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Copyright Erin Burns, Kristin E. C. Green


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