Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 763–774 | Cite as

Factors that Influence Mental Health Stigma Among 8th Grade Adolescents

Original Paper

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Stigma Mental illness Mental health Adolescence 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the school system, youth participants, and Community Advisory Board for their roles in this study. The study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (R36 MH071117).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Population and Family Health SciencesJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.RANDArlingtonUSA

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