Researcher studies ways to help teens overcome fears and stigmas of mental illness
When teens start experiencing changes in moods or emotions, they tend to fear sharing their blue days with their families and adults who can help them. As a consequence, they often suffer in silence.
Case Western Reserve University KL2 Clinical Research Scholar and Instructor Melissa Pinto-Foltz from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing wants to find the magical elixir that helps teens speak up, seek help and then stick with treatments that get them feeling better.
"About one in five Americans has a mental illness, with half of these individuals first experiencing symptoms of mental illness in their teen years," she said.
Pinto-Foltz's research contributes to efforts nationwide to combat a public health issue, stigma and mental health literacy, made a priority in a U. S. Surgeon General's Report and the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health.
She found that a good way to reach teens to help them learn about mental illness and improve negative attitudes about mental illness was through their school.
She studied 156 girls in the 9th and 10th grade in a research project set in public high schools in Louisville, Ky. About half the group participated in a special national program called In Our Own Voice, offered by the National Alliance for Mental Illness, and the other half did not see the program.
More than 200,000 people across the U.S. have seen the In Our Own Voice program, which is frequently given in schools, churches and other community settings. The one-hour program involves learning through storytelling and changing attitudes through interacting with people who are in sustained recovery from mental illness. These individuals tell their personal stories of what it was like to first discover the illness and get through their recovery from the illness.
While the program is widely used across the U.S., no evidence exists that it is effective with teens, nor has the impact of the program been examined for an extended time period.
Pinto-Foltz used the In Our Own Voice program with the teens and reported her findings from the study, "Feasibility, Acceptability, and Initial Efficacy of a Knowledge-Contact Program to Reduce Mental Illness Stigma and Improve Mental Health Literacy in Adolescents," in Social Science and Medicine.
"We tell stories every day to friends, family and co-workers," she said. "The whole idea behind this approach is that people learn about the world through stories, and interacting with people with mental illness may violate previously held stereotypes. We wanted to see if teens responded to these interactions with and stories told by people with mental illness in such a way that it decreased stigma associated with mental illness and improved their knowledge of mental illness."
She followed participants four times over 10 weeks: first to study what stigmas and knowledge they had about mental illness, then in response to the In Our Own Voice program. She conducted follow-up interviews shortly after girls saw the program and again at weeks 4 and 8 to see if there were changes in the their level of stigma associated with mental illness and whether their knowledge of mental illness increased.
Pinto-Foltz's 10-week study found that the girls liked and learned from the In Our Own Voice storytelling program, but the program was too short to change some of the girls' stigmas that they would be more accepting of individuals with mental illness.
"This was our first assessment of In Our Own Voice as it's currently given, and it's a starting point to tackle stigma and improve mental health literacy among adolescents using existing approaches," she said.
In the future, she added that we can increase our chance of combating stigma and increasing mental health knowledge by providing more opportunities for adolescents to interact with the presenters following the program.
She suggested continued interaction with the presenters through projects with the girls or visits to their health classes for further discussions about mental illness.
"The girls were eager for more interaction with the presenters," Pinto-Foltz explained. "They kept asking me when the presenters would return to tell more stories. After the program, the girls had many lingering questions about mental illness. Increasing their interaction with the presenters would allow an opportunity to clarify their questions about mental illness, increase their comfort in interacting with individuals with mental illness, and decrease stigma."
Meanwhile in the follow-up with the girls at four and eight weeks, Pinto-Foltz found that girls who participated in In Our Own Voice had improved mental health knowledge when compared to the girls who did not receive the program.
Stigma levels for both groups remained the same, calling for further examination of approaches to tackle this important and pervasive problem, Pinto-Foltz said.
Provided by Case Western Reserve University
- e-SMART technologies may help young adults self-manage mental illness Sep 28, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Knowledge about mental illness increases likelihood of seeking help Jun 01, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Depression not so clear cut for teens Oct 12, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Research investment failing mental health Oct 03, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- New intervention to reduce self-stigma among persons with serious mental illness May 13, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
Johns Hopkins researchers say they have discovered specific chemical alterations in two genes that, when present during pregnancy, reliably predict whether a woman will develop postpartum depression.
Psychology & Psychiatry 3 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A Mediterranean diet with added extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts seems to improve the brain power of older people better than advising them to follow a low-fat diet, indicates research published online in the Journal of ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 13 hours ago | 2 / 5 (1) | 2
More people are being diagnosed with eating disorders every year and the most common type is not either of the two most well known—bulimia or anorexia—but eating disorders not otherwise specified (eating disorders that ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 13 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Turns out, that old "practice makes perfect" adage may be overblown. New research led by Michigan State University's Zach Hambrick finds that a copious amount of practice is not enough to explain why people ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 14 hours ago | 3.3 / 5 (10) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Individuals who learn two languages at an early age seem to switch back and forth between separate "sound systems" for each language, according to new research conducted at the University of Arizona.
Psychology & Psychiatry 15 hours ago | 5 / 5 (4) | 0 |
(HealthDay)—Injections of a sugar solution appear to help relieve knee pain and stiffness related to osteoarthritis, a new study suggests.
24 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists at the School of Medicine have shown that their previously identified therapeutic approach to fight cancer via immune cells called macrophages also prompts the disease-fighting killer T cells ...
32 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Over the past few decades, scientists have developed many devices that can reopen clogged arteries, including angioplasty balloons and metallic stents. While generally effective, each of these treatments ...
27 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(HealthDay)—Obese and overweight men and women who suffer from heartburn often report relief when they lose weight, a new study shows.
14 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(HealthDay)—When it comes to the care of your children's teeth, dentists aren't the only experts who can help.
34 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—For patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), prolonged prone positioning during mechanical ventilation is associated with significantly reduced mortality at 28 and 90 days, ...
54 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0