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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 35  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 238-245

Persons with mental illness and their caregivers: What do they think, feel, and perceive about marriage?


1 Department of Psychiatric Social Work, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sojan Antony
Department of Psychiatric Social Work, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru - 560 029, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_98_18

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Introduction: Marriage is an important social institution. It is the basis for the family. The functions of marriage are regulation of sexual behavior, reproduction, nurturance, production of children, and socialization. Stigma associated with mental illness is a major cause for failure of marriage among persons with mental illness (PMI). Perspectives of the PMI and their family members on marriage are not explored in detail. Thus, the current study aimed to explore the perspectives on marriage of PMI and their caregivers. Methodology: Five case studies purposively selected with a significant history of marital failures due to mental illness were analyzed. In addition, three focus group discussions consisting of 17 caregivers were conducted among people who attempted to arrange the marriage for their son or daughter with mental illness. Results: Families experienced major challenges to arrange marriage for PMI; blaming the parents, caregiver burden, reduced social support, and social stigma for the entire family emerged as the major themes. Conclusion: Hence, there is an urgent need to explore the feasibility of psychosocial intervention; focusing on psycho-education on illness, removing myths related to illness and marriage, premarital counseling, and addressing the stigma within the family and in the community are imperative. Psychiatric social workers must take the lead role to address the marriage-related concerns of PMI and their family members.


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