Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Summary of Outcome Data from a Large Anti-stigma Initiative in Canada

Combating stigma has been a major priority of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. They have adopted a targeted approach, working with grassroots organizations to: reduce the impact of stigma on children and youth, reduced stigmatization by health professionals (who are not immune from stigma) and to reduce stigma in workplaces. A major summary of this extensive program of research is now available through the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry and can be accessed here. When it comes to reducing stigma by health professionals, six key ingredients are identified: (1) adopting a recovery emphasis, (2) using multiple forms of social contact (this means real communication between people with illnesses and health professionals outside of the typical professional channels, e.g. "Doctor-Patient"), (3) a personal testimonial, (4) myth-busting, (5) teaching of skills and (6) an enthusiastic leader for the intervention. Among 22 anti-stigma studies evaluated, those that incorporated all six ingredients performed better than those that incorporated only some.

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