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Public Stigma of Mental Illness in the United States: A Systematic Literature Review

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Abstract

Public stigma is a pervasive barrier that prevents many individuals in the U.S. from engaging in mental health care. This systematic literature review aims to: (1) evaluate methods used to study the public’s stigma toward mental disorders, (2) summarize stigma findings focused on the public’s stigmatizing beliefs and actions and attitudes toward mental health treatment for children and adults with mental illness, and (3) draw recommendations for reducing stigma towards individuals with mental disorders and advance research in this area. Public stigma of mental illness in the U.S. was widespread. Findings can inform interventions to reduce the public’s stigma of mental illness.

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Acknowledgments

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Society for Social Work and Research Annual Conference, January 2010, Tampa, FL. This work was supported in part by the New York State Office of Mental Health, New York State Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, National Institutes of Health Grant K01 MH09118 (PI: Cabassa) and the Implementation Research Institute (IRI) at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis through an award from the National Institute of Mental Health (R25 MH080916-01A2) and the Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Services Research and Development, Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI). The authors would like to acknowledge the support of our research assistant, Rebeca Aragón, and the helpful comments of the journal reviewers.

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Correspondence to Angela M. Parcesepe.

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Parcesepe, A.M., Cabassa, L.J. Public Stigma of Mental Illness in the United States: A Systematic Literature Review. Adm Policy Ment Health 40, 384–399 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10488-012-0430-z

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