Interventions to Reduce Stigma Related to Mental Illnesses in Educational Institutes: a Systematic Review [2020]

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.

Ahmed Waqas, Salma Malik, Ania Fida, Noureen Abbas, Nadeem Mian, Sannihitha Miryala, Afshan Naz Amray, Zunairah Shah & Sadiq Naveed
Psychiatric Quarterly, volume 91, 2020