Implementing local projects to reduce the stigma of mental illness.

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

ABSTRACT 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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    ABSTRACT: Background An important issue concerning the worldwide fight against stigma is the evaluation of psychiatrists’ beliefs and attitudes toward schizophrenia and mental illness in general. However, there is as yet no consensus on this matter in the literature, and results vary according to the stigma dimension assessed and to the cultural background of the sample. The aim of this investigation was to search for profiles of stigmatizing beliefs related to schizophrenia in a national sample of psychiatrists in Brazil. Methods A sample of 1414 psychiatrists were recruited from among those attending the 2009 Brazilian Congress of Psychiatry. A questionnaire was applied in face-to-face interviews. The questionnaire addressed four stigma dimensions, all in reference to individuals with schizophrenia: stereotypes, restrictions, perceived prejudice and social distance. Stigma item scores were included in latent profile analyses; the resulting profiles were entered into multinomial logistic regression models with sociodemographics, in order to identify significant correlates. Results Three profiles were identified. The “no stigma” subjects (n = 337) characterized individuals with schizophrenia in a positive light, disagreed with restrictions, and displayed a low level of social distance. The “unobtrusive stigma” subjects (n = 471) were significantly younger and displayed the lowest level of social distance, although most of them agreed with involuntary admission and demonstrated a high level of perceived prejudice. The “great stigma” subjects (n = 606) negatively stereotyped individuals with schizophrenia, agreed with restrictions and scored the highest on the perceived prejudice and social distance dimensions. In comparison with the first two profiles, this last profile comprised a significantly larger number of individuals who were in frequent contact with a family member suffering from a psychiatric disorder, as well as comprising more individuals who had no such family member. Conclusions Our study not only provides additional data related to an under-researched area but also reveals that psychiatrists are a heterogeneous group regarding stigma toward schizophrenia. The presence of different stigma profiles should be evaluated in further studies; this could enable anti-stigma initiatives to be specifically designed to effectively target the stigmatizing group.
    BMC Psychiatry 03/2013; 13(1):92. DOI:10.1186/1471-244X-13-92 · 2.24 Impact Factor
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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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    ABSTRACT: The negative attitudes surrounding mental disorders and their treatment are a major obstacle to the correct identification and treatment of emerging psychopathologies. The purpose of this study was to investigate mental health literacy in a large and representative sample of high school students in Italy, via a booklet containing several questionnaires delivered to 1032 teenagers. The items in the questionnaires probed knowledge about mental health and illness, stigmatization, stereotypes, behaviors, opinions, and attitudes. In general, the students had a reasonable knowledge of mental disorders and were able to distinguish these from somatic disorders. However, a large portion of the students nourished some misconceptions about mental disorders and was also rather skeptical about the effectiveness of treatment or the chance of recovery for people with severe mental disorders. Nevertheless, roughly half of the students reported being willing to provide help to someone with a mental disorder when in need. Poor mental health literacy is a major barrier to seeking help and receiving effective treatment. Young people are the ideal target of raising awareness and antistigma campaigns because they are at a higher risk for developing a psychopathology.
    The Journal of nervous and mental disease 04/2013; 201(4):311-8. DOI:10.1097/NMD.0b013e318288e27f · 1.81 Impact Factor


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