Stigma in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Research: Understanding Professional and Institutional Stigmatization of Youth with Mental Health Problems and their Families

  • Craig Anne HeflingerEmail author
  • Stephen P. Hinshaw
Original Paper


To understand the low utilization rates of child and adolescent mental health services, it is necessary to recognize the kinds of professional and institutional stigma that may produce barriers to care. We address the large literature on the stigmatization of mental illness, linkages between such literature and children’s mental health services use, and the kinds of professional and institutional attitudes and practices that communicate shame and low expectations to youth and their families. It will take recognition of such stigmatizing practices—including overcoming resistance to the messages presented herein—to make real progress in the effort to increase utilization of evidence-based practices. Multi-faceted, multi-level, and multi-disciplinary approaches to both research and intervention are recommended.


Children Adolescents Mental health services research Underutilization Stigma 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human and Organizational DevelopmentPeabody College of Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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