Perceived Stigma and Help-Seeking Behavior: Longitudinal Evidence From the Healthy Minds Study

Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, 180 Longwood Ave., Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.) (Impact Factor: 2.41). 10/2009; 60(9):1254-6. DOI: 10.1176/
Source: PubMed


Despite considerable policy interest in the association between perceived public stigmatization of mental illness and use of mental health services, limited empirical evidence, particularly from longitudinal data, documents this relationship. This study used longitudinal data to estimate the association between perceived public stigmatization and subsequent mental health care seeking.
A Web-based survey was used to collect data from a random sample of undergraduate and graduate students at a university at baseline and two years later (N=732). Logistic regression models assessed the association between students' perceived public stigma at baseline and measures of subsequent help seeking for mental health problems (perceived need for help and use of mental health services) at follow-up.
No significant associations were found between perceived public stigma and help-seeking behavior over the two-year period.
In this population of college students, perceived stigma did not appear to pose a substantial barrier to mental health care.

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Available from: Daniel Eisenberg, Oct 04, 2015
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    • "However, it is also possible that students may feel comfortable filling out an anonymous survey but still hesitate to discuss their symptoms with a live clinician over a virtual medium. This is a public health challenge that may be related to the stigma regarding psychiatric illnesses [37], the lack of insight into the need for help [38], or concerns about potential administrative sanctions, such as mandatory leave or dismissal from school [17]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background. A steady rise in the prevalence of depression among college students has negatively affected student quality of life. This study investigates the feasibility and acceptability of a Web-based model, including Skype, to screen and provide psychiatric consultation to depressed college students. Methods. Students completed the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) online; those who screened positive (PHQ-9 ≥ 10) or endorsed any level of suicidal ideation were offered Web-based psychiatric consultation using Skype. After the consultation, students filled out a 7-item satisfaction questionnaire to report on the acceptability of this Web-based method. Results. A total of 972 students consented to the online depression screening and 285 screened positive. Of those, 69 students consented and 17 students successfully completed the psychiatric consultation via Skype. Thirteen (76.4%) students found the interview useful in helping them understand their depression. Fifteen (88.2%) students thought that psychologists and psychiatrists could successfully see patients via videoconferencing. Conclusions. Current online technologies can provide depression screening and psychiatric consultation to college students; those who participated reported a positive experience. Future studies will need to address the low levels of participation among college students and attract students who are underserved, as well as use a videoconferencing platform that adequately protects data confidentiality.
    International Journal of Telemedicine and Applications 03/2014; 2014:580786. DOI:10.1155/2014/580786
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    • "However, they were more likely to endorse the helpfulness of a close friend for social phobia. These findings are contrary to the null findings from earlier studies which did not examine stigma-help seeking associations specifically for different disorders (Golberstein et al., 2009; Schomerus et al., 2009; Yap et al., 2011), suggesting that it may be informative to examine these associations separately for specific disorders. Overall, the current findings indicate that the associations between weak-notsick stigma and help seeking are similar for personally-held beliefs and those perceived in others: such beliefs seem to be a barrier to professional help seeking in young people. "
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    ABSTRACT: To reduce stigma and improve help seeking by young people for mental illness, we need a better understanding of the associations between various dimensions of stigma and young people's help-seeking intentions and helpfulness beliefs for various sources of help and for different disorders. This study assessed stigmatizing attitudes and help-seeking intentions and helpfulness beliefs via a national telephone survey of 3021 youths aged 15-25. Five stigma scales were used: social distance, personally held weak-not-sick and dangerousness beliefs, and weak-not-sick and dangerousness beliefs perceived in others. Respondents were presented with a vignette of a young person portraying depression, depression with suicidal thoughts, depression with alcohol abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, or psychosis. Beliefs that mental illness is a sign of personal weakness and preference for social distance were associated with less intention to seek professional help and less endorsement of their helpfulness. In contrast, dangerousness/unpredictability beliefs were associated with more intention to seek professional help and more endorsement of their helpfulness. Findings highlight the importance of examining the associations between different dimensions of stigma with different sources of help, specifically for various mental disorders, to better inform future efforts to reduce stigma and increase help seeking in young people.
    09/2013; 210(3). DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2013.08.029
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    • "Evidence for an association between various dimensions of stigma is either lacking or largely inconsistent. For example, perceived stigma has been found to be unrelated to help seeking in some studies [13,14]. It must also be noted that most of the models that currently describe the dimensions related to mental illness stigma are based on individual-level rather than a sociological-level of structural indicators of stigma which can occur at the institutional or government level. "
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    ABSTRACT: Research on the attitudes of health care providers towards people with mental illness has repeatedly shown that they may be stigmatizing. Many scales used to measure attitudes towards people with mental illness that exist today are not adequate because they do not have items that relate specifically to the role of the health care provider. We developed and tested a new scale called the Opening Minds Scale for Health Care Providers (OMS-HC). After item-pool generation, stakeholder consultations and content validation, focus groups were held with 64 health care providers/trainees and six people with lived experience of mental illness to develop the scale. The OMS-HC was then tested with 787 health care providers/trainees across Canada to determine its psychometric properties. The initial testing OMS-HC scale showed good internal consistency, Cronbach's alpha = 0.82 and satisfactory test-retest reliability, intraclass correlation = 0.66 (95% CI 0.54 to 0.75). The OMC-HC was only weakly correlated with social desirability, indicating that the social desirability bias was not likely to be a major determinant of OMS-HC scores. A factor analysis favoured a two-factor structure which accounted for 45% of the variance using 12 of the 20 items tested. The OMS-HC provides a good starting point for further validation as well as a tool that could be used in the evaluation of programs aimed at reducing mental illness related stigma by health care providers. The OMS-HC incorporates various dimensions of stigma with a modest number of items that can be used with busy health care providers.
    BMC Psychiatry 06/2012; 12(1):62. DOI:10.1186/1471-244X-12-62 · 2.21 Impact Factor
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