Stigma associated with mental illness: Some important and hopefully useful propositions

Presentation First Author: 
Ross Norman

Rationale: The stigma of psychiatric illness presents a significant barrier to early access to mental health services, engagement in treatment and recovery.

Objective: There will be a description of three areas of research applying well established principles from social psychology to the reduction of the stigma of mental illness, particularly psychotic disorders, and its impact. These are a focus on the potential for recovery; engagement of personal values; and self-related perceptions that may mitigate the effect of stigma on young people with psychotic disorders.

Methods: In addition to a brief synoptic review of research on the stigma of mental illness, there will be a report on the methodology and findings from several studies carried out in collaboration with the Early Intervention Program for Psychosis (PEPP) in London, Canada.

Results: There is evidence that presenting narrative information highlighting the potential for recovery from psychiatric illness may be particularly effective in reducing stigmatizing responses. There is also evidence that engagement of personal values may be effective in changing discriminatory behaviours. Finally, there is evidence that perceiving positive evaluation by immediate social contacts is important in mitigating the effects of perceived stigma on individuals with first episode psychosis.

Conclusions: Well established principles of social psychology coupled with the experience of young people with mental illness such as psychotic disorders may help elucidate some useful approaches to addressing the stigma of psychiatric illness.

Conference Name: 
Date of Presentation: 
10th Oct 2015
Type of presentation: 
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