Stigma related to targeted school-based mental health interventions: a systematic review of qualitative evidence

Gronholm, Petra C, Nye, Elizabeth and Michelson, Daniel (2018) Stigma related to targeted school-based mental health interventions: a systematic review of qualitative evidence. Journal of Affective Disorders, 240. pp. 17-26. ISSN 0165-0327

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School-based mental health services have been advocated to increase access to psychological support for children and adolescents. However, concerns have been raised about the potential stigma associated with selection of students and the visibility of school-based service contact.

This review assessed findings from qualitative studies to identify potential stigmatising effects of participation in targeted school-based mental health interventions for students attending primary- or secondary-level education. Eight articles (reflecting seven studies) were identified through electronic database searches (PsycInfo, EMBASE, Medline, CINAHL, ERIC), supplemented by citation and reference searches and expert consultations. Data were synthesised according to established guidelines for thematic synthesis.

Three overarching themes were identified: “anticipated and experienced stigma”, “consequences of stigma” and “mitigating strategies”. These findings illustrate how pervasively stigma can compromise efforts to increase access to mental health care through targeted school-based provision, while also outlining strategies endorsed by students for alleviating the risk and/or impact of stigma.

The findings need to be considered in view of the relative scarcity of surveyed evidence. Furthermore, as all evidence came from high-income and Western countries, the applicability to other contexts is unclear.

This synthesis reflects the first overview of qualitative evidence regarding stigmatising experiences and concerns associated with students’ engagement with targeted school-based mental health interventions. The findings should inform efforts for mitigating stigma-related barriers to students’ engagement in targeted mental health support, and serve to guide future research in this area.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Research Centres and Groups: Developmental and Clinical Psychology Research Group
Depositing User: Daniel Michelson
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2018 15:25
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2018 15:25
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