Positive mental health and mental health stigma: A qualitative study assessing student attitudes [2019]

Background: Mental health problems and mental health stigma are critical public health issues. With less than one third of individuals with mental health problems receiving treating, studies are needed to examine perceived stigma and help-seeking for mental health problems.

Aims: The present study investigated positive mental health and mental health stigma among college students.

Methods: Structured interviews were conducted with 23 students to examine study aims.

Results: Several main themes emerged from the interviews including staying mentally healthy, awareness/education, compassion/understanding, and benefits and barriers to mental health treatment. Students perceived stigma as a barrier to mental health treatment. Students felt increasing education and awareness, linking students to resources, and being compassionate and understanding to those experiencing mental health problems were important to reduce stigma-related attitudes.

Conclusions: Mental health professionals may use study findings to enhance awareness of mental health among college students and increase rates of those seeking-treatment by incorporating main themes into prevention and intervention programs.

Rebecca A. Vidourek, Michelle Burbage
Mental Health & Prevention, Volume 13, March 2019