Peculiarities Of The Stigmatisation Of People Who Suffered From Mental Disorders
Mental illness stigma is detrimental to the lives of those suffering from mental health issues. Public stigma refers to “uninformed and negative attitudes” held by the general community about mental illness (SANE Australia, 2013). It can be expressed through harmful and misled stereotypes, prejudicial and emotional responses, and discriminatory behavior regarding mental illness.
Public stigma affects care-seeking, as people attempt to avoid being labeled, thus avoiding seeking clinical help and treatment due to associated prejudice (Corrigan et al, 2014). This creates a barrier to mental illness recovery, leading to further deterioration in mental health. Stigma also affects relationships and can create difficulty in employment, as mental illness sufferers face discrimination from family, friends, as well as potential employers (SANE Australia, 2013). This proves that the presence of public stigma poses a detrimental effect on the quality of life of people suffering from mental illness. Hence, it is necessary to explore interventions to reduce public stigma, which would improve the quality of life of mental illness sufferers. A combination of contact and psychoeducation anti-stigma interventions would be effective in reducing public stigma about mental illness in university-level students. Kosyluk and Yamaguchi conducted studies focusing on public stigma reduction in this target group.
Yamaguchi’s studied two forms of education – lectures and text – where participants discussed general mental health problems, including symptoms and the lives of those who have a mental illness or read information about mental illness through books, articles, and information sheets respectively (2013). In this study, no focus was placed specifically on stigma education. He also tests video-based social contact, where people experiencing mental health conditions discuss their experiences on video (2013). Yamaguchi concluded that social or video-based social contact appears to be more effective in reducing public stigma (2013). He further specifies that the description of ordinary life and successful events in these videos appear to be more effective (Yamaguchi et al, 2013). Kosyluk also tested the effects of psychoeducation (2016). The psychoeducation-based intervention included a presentation focusing on stigmatisation and mental illness, and concluded by clarifying and disproving harmful beliefs and stereotypes of mental illness specific to the college population, by contrasting the myths and facts of mental illness (Kosyluk et al, 2016)
In Kosyluk’s study of contact intervention, students with mental illness shared their experiences of mental health problems. (2016). As in Yamaguchi’s experiment, the people with mental illnesses share their experiences of ordinary life and successful events, but they also share about their symptoms, challenges, and experiences of stigmatization, concluding by telling the audience what can be done to reduce stigma (Kosyluk et al, 2016). The results of Koslyuk’s experiment indicated that both contact and education were effective in the reduction of social distance and stigma (2016). Both methods were, in addition, effective in improving attitudes towards the seeking of mental health assistance. However, Kosyluk concluded that the effects of contact and education did not differ significantly (2016), contradicting Yamaguchi, which found that contact interventions appeared to be more effective (2013).
In Yamaguchi’s 2013 study, however, the effectiveness of contact interventions was compared to general mental illness education, referring to education that described the gist of mental illness, and brief overviews of mental illness (Yamaguchi et al, 2013), rather than stigma-specific education that was the focus of Kosyluk’s study (Kosyluk, 2016; Strassle, 2018). Furthermore, in Yamaguchi’s study, certain types of contact, which portrayed mental illness more positively, were found to be more effective (Yamaguchi et al). It can therefore be suggested that the types of contact and psychoeducational intervention play a significant role in the effectiveness of each method, where education focused on stigma, and positive depictions of mental illness in contact methods would be more effective.
Contact and psychoeducation interventions are both shown to have merits in the reduction of stigma, but it is yet to be determined whether one intervention would be more effective than the other. Furthermore, the effectiveness of each method appears to be highly independent of the specific ways they are applied, and further research within the literature would be necessary to conclude how to maximize the effectiveness of the interventions.
The reduction of public stigma towards mental health is necessary to improve the quality of life of mental illness sufferers. It can be concluded that a combination of contact and psychoeducation anti-stigma interventions would be effective in reducing public stigma about mental illness within college and university level students. To maximize the overall effectiveness of the methods, contact, and psychoeducation will be combined in the Mind, Brain, and Behaviour 2 (MBB2) program.
The investigation of the MBB2 program researches the effectiveness of a combination of contact and psychoeducation methods of stigma reduction. Focus is placed on the reduction of harmful and misled stereotypes, prejudicial emotional responses, and discriminatory behavior regarding mental illness, through the combination of contact and psychoeducation.