Destigmatizing Mental Illness: An Innovative Evidence-Based Undergraduate Curriculum – 2018-01

Stigma toward individuals with mental illness is prevalent, not only in society but also among nurses caring for this population. Such stigma contributes to health disparities, discrimination, and a lack of providers working with those who experience mental illness. An evidence-based anti-stigma curriculum innovation in a mental health nursing course in an undergraduate program is described. The curriculum change, undertaken over 2 years, included two elements: (a) contact-based education, and (b) reflective activities. For the contact-based education element, volunteers with varying mental illnesses modeling a recovery focus spoke with students and reinforced the content of that day’s lecture. For the reflective element, students engaged in reflective activities regarding stigma, personal biases, and changed perceptions at three points: before, during, and after the contact-based education series. Implications related to nursing and nursing education are presented.

Stacey M. Carroll, PhD, ANP-BC
Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, January 12, 2018