Stigma towards mental disorder is recognised as a public health problem. Various programmes have been rolled out to combat stigma. Corrigan et al in their 2012 meta analysis reported that contact and educational interventions are effective in reducing personal stigma. i.e. an individual’s own attitude towards people with a mental illness. This analysis did not cover areas like self stigma and perceived stigma (individual’s beliefs about the attitudes of others to mental illness) . Clement et al‘s meta analysis (2013) looked at mass media interventions and concluded that such interventions have a small to moderate effect.
Griffiths et al’s present meta analysis looked at various forms of stigma for various disorders. 34 controlled studies were included in their final analysis.
Most common intervention was education. Consumer contact was the next common one. Various modes of delivery ( online, group, leaflet, video etc) were tested.
Personal stigma: The pooled mean effect size across all conditions and interventions was small .There was also evidence that interventions incorporating a consumer contact component were effective. Internet and non computer models had similar effects. This effect was regardless of the particular disorder studied. CBT did not show benefits.
Perceived stigma: The interventions did not significantly reduce perceived stigma.
Internalised stigma: The pooled mean effect size across the three studies included was not statistically significant
Conclusions: Current stigma interventions are effective in reducing personal stigma. educational and contact interventions are effective. Contact alone may not ne effective. Effects sizes are small. There are no effective interventions ( published) for perceived stigma. It is possible that public may be overestimating the stigma in others i.e. in community. Perceived stigma is a barrier to access service and hence is important to have effective interventions to reduce that. Internalised stigma is not much studied. Internet is an effective medium and this opens up many possibilities.
Summary of the article:
Griffiths KM, Carron-Arthur B, Parsons A, Reid R. World Psychiatry. 2014 Jun;13(2):161-75.