Purpose: Better know social representations and socio-cultural aspects of mental illness (FP) is critical to reduce stigma and improve care and prevention of psychiatric illness.
Methods: The Mental Health in General Population Survey (MHGP) was carried out in French Polynesia (FP) in 2015 and 2017, with questionnaires on social representations of the "insane", the "mentally ill", the "depressive" and the various types of help and care. The representative sample of 968 people was built using the quota method. The data were collected in public spaces, anonymously.
Results: The origin of mental health problems is considered mainly as physical, organic or hereditary. Addictive behaviours are the cause of mental illness for 1/4 of respondents. According to the Polynesian population, the “insane” or the “mentally ill” are perceived as excluded, irresponsible, unaware of their conditions and difficult to cure. Depressed people are seen as responsible for their actions, aware of their conditions and who can be treated.
Conclusion: The results of this survey show stigmatizing representations of the “insane” and the mentally ill” and significant use of traditional care. They have been incorporated into the mental health plan for FP to improve the care and promotion of mental health.