This investigation reviews the effectiveness of anti-stigma interventions employed at educational institutes; to improve knowledge, attitude and beliefs regarding mental health disorders among students. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) checklist guidelines were followed and protocol was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42018114535). Forty four randomized controlled trials were considered eligible after screening of 104 full-text articles against inclusion and exclusion criteria.
Several interventions have been employed to tackle stigma toward psychiatric illnesses, including education through lectures and case scenarios, contact-based interventions, and role-plays as strategies to address stigma towards mental illnesses. A high proportion of trials noted that there was a significant improvement for stigma (19/25, 76%), attitude (8/11, 72%), helping-seeking (8/11, 72%), knowledge of mental health including recognition of depression (11/14, 78%), and social distance (4/7, 57%). These interventions also helped in reducing both public and self-stigma. Majority of the studies showed that the anti-stigma interventions were successful in improving mental health literacy, attitude and beliefs towards mental health illnesses.