Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Antistigma Programs Increase in Workplace, but Effectiveness Needs Further Study

Workplace programs aimed at reducing stigma regarding mental illness have expanded in the last four years, especially among the military, according to a study published online April 1 in Psychiatric Services in Advance. Researchers at the University of Toronto searched peer-reviewed literature published from 2000 to 2011, along with an extensive Internet review, to identify and describe the principles and characteristics embedded in workplace mental health antistigma initiatives. Twenty-two antistigma interventions were included in the study.

Most of the initiatives appeared in the past four years and across national boundaries, reflecting the growing international interest in mental health issues in the workplace. A large proportion of the interventions use educational approaches to reducing stigma, and a substantial number target military personnel. What’s not clear is how effective these programs are. “Workplace antistigma initiatives have increased in recent years; however, few conclusions can be drawn about their effectiveness,” the researchers say. “Reasons include a small number of studies, a lack of use of evaluation tools with established psychometric properties, and a lack of long-term follow-up evaluation efforts and data.... Interventions need to address the multifaceted nature of stigma and consider the diverse needs of various stakeholders in the workplace setting.”

Read the study in PS in Advance here. To read more about how stigma impacts access to mental health care, see Psychiatric News here and here

(Image: Andrea Danti/


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