Factors that Influence Mental Health Stigma Among 8th Grade Adolescents
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Unmet mental health need is a significant problem for adolescents. Although stigma is identified as a major barrier to the use of mental health services among youth, there is limited research on this topic. In-depth interviews (n=57) among a sample of 8th grade students in a suburban, mid-Atlantic community portray adolescent mental health attitudes and how these views are shaped. Satisfactory personal experiences with mental health services as well as accurate mental health knowledge contribute to positive mental health attitudes among teens. The anticipation of negative responses towards mental health care-seeking from family members, peers, and school staff are key factors in teens’ comfort and willingness to address mental health concerns. The research provides critical information on the factors that contribute to the development of stigma and emphasizes the need to address stigma in youth mental health education, programs, and treatment plans.