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Reducing the Impacts of Mental Health Stigma Through Integrated Primary Care: An Examination of the Evidence

Abstract

The reduction of mental health stigma (MHS) was an expected benefit of integrating behavioral health in primary care (IPC). However, unlike other barriers discussed in agency reports on IPC, discussions of MHS lack research support. To fill this gap, the authors conducted a literature review identifying seven studies. Given the dearth of research, we also examine general IPC research on probable indicators of MHS reduction in IPC, as well as, facets of IPC potentially influencing MHS related factors negatively associated with help-seeking. Using the data from these three types of research, the evidence suggests the potential of IPC to reduce MHS impact on care utilization, but indicates it is premature to draw firm conclusions. Given the possible benefits of primary care and the known benefits of decreased MHS, this review highlights the importance of further research examining this question and provides specific research and program development recommendations.

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Rowan, A.B., Grove, J., Solfelt, L. et al. Reducing the Impacts of Mental Health Stigma Through Integrated Primary Care: An Examination of the Evidence. J Clin Psychol Med Settings (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10880-020-09742-4

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Keywords

  • Integrated primary care
  • Stigma
  • Mental health
  • Behavioral health