Implementing local projects to reduce stigma of mental illness

Epidemiologia e psichiatria sociale (Impact Factor: 3.16). 03/2008; 17(1):20-5. DOI: 10.1017/S1121189X00002633
Source: PubMed


This editorial describes strategies used and the lessons learned in implementing two local anti-stigma projects. The WPA Programme to Reduce Stigma and Discrimination Because of Schizophrenia established projects to fight stigma in 20 countries, using social-marketing techniques to enhance their effectiveness. First steps at each site were to establish an action committee and conduct a survey of perceived stigma. Based on survey results, the action committees selected a few homogeneous and accessible target groups, such as employers, and criminal justice personnel. Messages and media were selected, tested, and refined. Guidelines are provided for setting up a consumer (service-user) speakers' bureau and for establishing a media-watch organization, which can lobby news and entertainment media to exclude negative portrayals of people with mental illness. Improvements in knowledge about mental illness were effected in high school students and criminal justice personnel. Positive changes in attitude towards people with mental illness were achieved with high school students, but were more difficult to achieve with police officers. Local antistigma projects can be effective in reducing stigma and relatively inexpensive. The involvement of consumers is important in working with police officers. Project organizers should be on the lookout for useful changes that can become permanent.

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    • "Project organisers should be on the lookout for useful changes that can become permanent (Warner, 2008[31]). The results do not support the utility of a broad approach for an anti-stigma campaign, but rather suggest a more specific focus, such as perceived dangerousness (Thompson et al., 2002[28]). "
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    ABSTRACT: The consequences of stigma are preventable. We argue that individual attention should be provided to patients when dealing with stigma. Also, in order to deal with the impact of stigma on an individual basis, it needs to be assessed during routine clinical examinations, quantified and followed up to observe whether or not treatment can reduce its impact. A patient-centric anti-stigma programme that delivers the above is urgently needed. To this end, this review explores the experiences, treatment barriers and consequences due to stigma. We also offer putative solutions to this problem.
    03/2012; 10(1):85-97. DOI:10.4103/0973-1229.90276
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    Epidemiologia e psichiatria sociale 03/2008; 17(1):1-9. DOI:10.1017/S1121189X00002608 · 3.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Now that schizophrenia researchers may be moving from unilateral molecular genetic approaches to models including so-called gene-environment interactions, the question rises which environments may be considered for such research and how a user perspective may inform the field. It is argued that trauma and stigma, or perhaps better structural discrimination, represent 2 important environmental factors that deserve more attention. Experiential evidence, collected by users, suggests that trauma in childhood and/or adulthood, before, during, and after the onset of schizophrenia, as well as stigma/structural discrimination, may play important roles in the onset and course of the disorder. A certain reluctance on the part of the professional schizophrenia research community to take these variables as serious as, eg, interesting but inconclusive etiological signals from prenatal hypoxia, prenatal folate deficiency, and prenatal toxoplasmosis is suggested. This article outlines the concepts of trauma and stigma and their negative consequences for the onset and course of schizophrenia. The importance of research into these factors and their possible relevance for gene-environment interactions is discussed. While gene-environment interaction research using these variables is indicated and may possibly prove productive, it is argued that such efforts may not be useful if no subsequent attempt is made to translate the results to the level of interventions, codeveloped by users, eg, in the area of coping with the vicious circle of environmental adversity that users can become exposed to.
    Schizophrenia Bulletin 10/2008; 34(6):1106-10. DOI:10.1093/schbul/sbn113 · 8.45 Impact Factor
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