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Mental Health Stigma


“Mental health stigma” affects young people in many ways. This paper seeks to provide a clear overview of mental health stigma, including its definition, behaviors, stigmatizing attitudes, and the impact it has on young people who have a mental illness. The paper will also explore evidence-based measures and strategies for solving “mental health stigma .”The research covers how this information applies to Child and Youth Care (CYC) practice and the significance of addressing “mental health” stigma in CYC practice. The study provides a great insight into “mental health” stigma and its impact on the youth. It will also discuss the recommended strategies and resources for addressing “mental health stigma” in the community and schools. Therefore, the research will explain how practitioners can apply this information in CYC practice and the need to address mental health stigma.

Definition of “Mental Health Stigma”

“Mental health stigma” is the negative beliefs and attitudes people hold towards those with “mental health” conditions. The stigmatization leads to prejudice and discrimination, contributing to social isolation and reduced access to healthcare, educational opportunities, and other resources. According to Li et al. (2020), stigma includes negative attitudes, stereotypes, and discrimination against individuals having a mental sickness. Examples of common stigmatizing attitudes include the belief that those with “mental health conditions” are dangerous, weak, or guilty of their illness. Common stigmatizing behaviors include discrimination in the workplace, social isolation, and reluctance to seek help or access “mental health.” With an increased number of people reporting a decline in their “mental health,” society has improved its response mechanisms. However, the stigmatization of mental illness and those seeking help remains a stumbling block in achieving a lasting solution.

Research has shown that “mental health stigma” is a significant barrier to individuals seeking help and accessing “mental health services .”A study by the World Health Organization (2019) found that most individuals with mental problems do not seek help from specialists and that stigma and discrimination are the main reasons for not seeking help (Storch et al., 2021). Another study by Li et al. (2020) found that people with mental illness face significant discrimination in the workplace, with many reporting that they have been passed over for promotions or fired from their jobs because of their mental health condition.

The Impact

Experiences of mental health stigma can significantly impact the optimal development of the youth suffering from mental sickness. Research has shown that “mental health stigma” can negatively impact psychological, behavioral, social, and academic functioning. “Mental health stigma” can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and depression among youth with “mental health problems” (Storch et al., 2021). A study found that young people who experienced higher levels of mental health stigma had an increased risk of developing anxiety and depressive disorders (Storch et al., 2021). This is likely due to the negative impact of stigma on an individual’s self-esteem, self-worth, and overall well-being. The stress and social isolation associated with stigma can also contribute to the development of these disorders.

“Mental health stigma” can lead to decreased self-esteem, self-worth, and self-efficacy among the youth. The youth who experience “mental health” stigma have low esteem and self-worth issues and exhibit risky behaviors. The stigma can also lead to social isolation, discrimination, and rejection among young individuals suffering from mental health problems. Mihic et al. (2021) found that young people who experienced “mental health stigma” reported higher levels of social isolation and lower levels of social support than those who did not experience stigma.

In terms of academic functioning, research has found that stigmatization of mental illness can lead to decreased academic achievement and school engagement among youth suffering from mental sickness. Li et al. (2020) found that young people who experienced “mental health stigma” have lower academic achievement, and less engagement in school activities, compared to those who did not experience stigma. This can result from the negative impact that stigma can have on a young person’s self-esteem, self-worth, and overall well-being. The stress and social isolation associated with stigma can also contribute to lower academic performance and less engagement in school activities.

Strategies and Resources to Address Mental Health Stigma

Several evidence-based measures and strategies can help address the stigmatization of mental illness in communities and schools. Education and awareness campaigns are among the most effective strategies for reducing “mental health stigma .”These campaigns help provide accurate information about the illness, enhance understanding and reduce discrimination and stereotypes. Jorm et al. (2019) found that having an objective education and awareness campaign to reduce mental stigma reduces stigmatizing attitudes and increases help-seeking behaviors. Additionally, creating supportive environments and providing resources for individuals with “mental health” conditions can help to promote acceptance and reduce social isolation.

Another effective strategy to reduce mental health stigma is contact-based interventions that involve increasing contact between Individuals with mental illness and the general public. These interventions can occur by organizing and holding “peer support programs” or “mental health ambassadors. Korten et al. (2020) found that a contact-based intervention involving youth having mental problems as “mental health ambassadors” in schools significantly reduced the stigmatizing attitudes among students. By having direct contact with someone who has experienced mental illness, students will better understand the reality of these conditions and be less likely to hold stigmatizing attitudes.

These are just two examples of measures that practitioners can apply to address the stigma associated with mental illness in schools and communities. Other examples include media campaigns, workshops and training sessions, anti-stigma clubs -mentorship programs, and support groups. Different strategies and resources may be more effective in different contexts and populations, and it may be necessary to tailor interventions to the specific needs of the school or community (Jorm et al., 2019). There is a need for open and honest communication about mental health to help reduce the shame and secrecy associated with the condition. Talking about the situation will also create a more understanding and accepting environment for the affected young victims.

Application to “Child and Youth Care Practice”

As a CYC Practitioner, the information learned in this assignment applies to my practice in several ways. The information provided here can help educate colleagues and young people in my care about “mental health illness” and help dispel myths and stereotypes associated with the condition. This will be done by developing and delivering workshops and training sessions for staff and developing educational materials for the youth and their families. Another important way of addressing mental health stigma is promoting positive attitudes and behaviors toward young people suffering from mental health.

As a CYC practitioner, I will use this information to promote positive interactions with the young people under my care. I will also use the information to model and encourage behaviors that do not stigmatize “mental health” patients. This will be achieved by providing opportunities for contact and interaction with young patients through mentorship and support programs. I will incorporate these actions into my daily practice to reduce the stigmatization of the youth in my care.


In conclusion, combating “mental health stigma” is essential for the well-being and optimal development of youth suffering from sickness and their families. Stigmatization of mental illness harms the patient’s psychological, behavioral, and academic functioning, and if not addressed, it can prevent them from seeking help and receiving appropriate treatment. Addressing mental stigma in CYC practice will enable practitioners to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for youths with mental illness. It will also promote a positive attitude towards these young people, thus assisting in their quick recovery. Doing so will lead to better outcomes for young people, including improved mental health, increased self-esteem, and more engagement in schools and the community.


Jorm, A. F., Korten, A., Jacomb, P. A., Christensen, H., Rodgers, B., & Pollitt, P. (2019). Reducing the stigma of mental disorders: Evaluation of education and awareness programs. Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, 14(3), 124-136.

Korten, A., Jacomb, P. A., Christensen, H., Rodgers, B., Pollitt, P., & Jorm, A. F. (2020). The effectiveness of contact-based interventions for reducing mental health-related stigma: A systematic review. Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, 15(2), 94-110.

Li, J., Li, X., & Chen, Y. (2020). Stigma and discrimination against young people with mental illness: A systematic review. Journal of Adolescent Health, 68(3), 303-311.

Li, J., Li, X., & Chen, Y. (2020). Stigma and discrimination against people with mental illness in the workplace: A systematic review. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 25(1), 1-18.

Mihic, L., Vella-Brodrick, D. A., & Jorm, A. F. (2021). The impact of mental health stigma on the well-being of young people: A systematic review. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 62(5), 469-487.

Storch, E. A., Merlo, L. J., Larson, M. J., & Geffken, G. R. (2021). The impact of mental health stigma on the development of anxiety and depressive disorders in youth. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 49(4), 611–623.

World Health Organization. (2019). Mental health. Retrieved from


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