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There is perhaps no more contested phenomenon in mental health policy debates than stigma. From claims that it has dissipated to ones that see it as “the most formidable” obstacle to recovery, research on the prejudice and discrimination associated with mental illness raises issues about its roots, proper targets for change, and even the utility of the term itself. What remains unquestioned is stigma’s real and potentially devastating effects on individuals, families, systems, and societies. The purpose of this chapter is to introduce conceptual basics, summarize research from contemporary studies, and outline positions from two recent landmark guides on anti-stigma programming and policy. A key element in all efforts (the message) and one platform (media) is pursued more deeply. The chapter describes the strengths and weaknesses of change strategies and novel results from recent experimental research on messages. Remaining challenges that confront the design and implementation of stigma reduction efforts are considered.
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- Stigma as a Mental Health Policy Controversy: Positions, Options, and Strategies for Change
Bernice A. Pescosolido
- Chapter 19