The Michigan Bright Nights Community Forum Series: a 10-Year Experience with Public Mental Health Education
Surveys of the general public suggest that, despite progress, many people in the USA continue to hold stigmatizing and discriminatory beliefs towards persons with mental illness [1, 2, 3]. Mental illness stigma is thought to be a deterrent to mental health help-seeking and adherence to treatment [4, 5, 6]. Innovative strategies to educate and engage the public in mental health issues are critical in order to improve mental health literacy and reduce stigma. Public education initiatives are one strategy that can be used to (1) increase the public profile of mental illness; (2) increase knowledge, familiarity, and acceptance of mental illness; (3) reduce stigma; and (4) increase care-seeking and treatment engagement among individuals with a mental illness.
Description of the Community Forum Series
This article describes a public education forum series focused on mental health, provides feedback and insights from key stakeholders to better understand the public’s reception to the forum...
We are grateful to Jenny Iott, Diego Ascani, Matt Gauntlett, and everyone else on the Ann Arbor District Library staff who have helped to make Bright Nights possible; to all of the faculty and community members who have given their time to participate as panelists; and to Melvin McInnis for helping to launch the Bright Nights series. A special thanks to the Patient and Family Centered Care e-Advisors, Bright Nights attendees, and library staff for their feedback and insights.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.