Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Health professionals can take the fight against stigma into their own back yards
Today is Bell Lets Talk day - in which tweets with #BellLetsTalk lead to a donation from Bell to support its stigma-fighting efforts. There is lots of support for the fight against stigma - usually targeting public stigma (negative attitudes help by the general population). Health professionals almost always have good intentions, but they are not immune from stigma. A recent study (report available here) identified 6 key ingredients of efforts to fight stigma among health professionals: (1) the anti-stigma intervention should include a personal testimony from a trained speaker who has lived experience of mental illness, (2) there should be multiple forms or points of social contact (for example, a live speaker and a video presentation, multiple speakers, etc.), (3) the program should focus on behaviour change by teaching skills that help health care providers with concrete skills to help them avoid stigmatization, (4) that the program should challenge stigmatizing myths, (5) the program facilitator should be enthusiastic and have a person-centred approach (as opposed to pathology-first) and (6) the program should emphasize recovery as a key part of its messaging. Often, health organizations and institutions plan their own anti-stigma interventions "from the ground up" but they should carefully consider these key ingredients. Programs that incorporate all of them have better outcomes.