Marie Ryder

A Stigma-Free Mental Health Force: A Possibility?

My presentation was at the 115th Annual American Psychological Association Convention that was held in San Francisco, CA from August 16th through August 19th. My colleague at the VA Hospital, Dr. Dolly Sadow, and I had the opportunity to present some of my evidenced-based Carnegie research project. This research focused on classroom strategies to decrease student nurses' stigmatizing attitudes towards the mentally ill. (It is both noteworthy and tragic that healthcare professionals provide sub-standard physical and mental health care to clients that have a diagnosis of mental illness.) We reasoned that a classroom presentation from a person who was recovering from mental illness, would be moving, inspirational and would de-stigmatize student nurses' attitudes.

Measures of stigma and courtesy stigma were used in this study. Fortunately, the pedagogical strategy was extremely successful and we had statistically significant results.

We recommend that health career curriculums explicitly address the issue of 'stigma' and integrate the voices of people recovering from mental illness as a pedagogical intervention.

Click here for the PDF of the article.

Last Modified: 6/10/16