Reducing stigma and increasing empowerment in mental illness. A qualitative research - People with mental illness often face with stigma in local communities, that may reduce perceived social support. Empowering activities may work, on the contrary, to promote social inclusion. Presence of associations is considered an indicator of social capital, often related to wellbeing. This study explores motivations of patients of Mental Health Service to participate in sports associations, and analyzes changes in wellbeing. Participants are patients, professionals, members of associations, local authorities. Method: Semi structured interviews. Data analysis was based on qualitative method (software T.Lab and Atlas.ti). Results have highlighted how participation in these groups may enhance patients’ empowerment, improve their quality of life, and reduce stigma. This experience may be an worktool to promote a better mental health and an "open space" building social networks.
Keywords: Mental health, stigma, mental health service, empowerment, social network, sports association.