Impact of mental health stigma on help-seeking in the Caribbean: Systematic review

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Abstract

Background
Mental health conditions often go untreated, which can lead to long-term poor emotional, social physical health and behavioural outcomes, and in some cases, suicide. Mental health-related stigma is frequently noted as a barrier to help seeking, however no previous systematic review has considered evidence from the Caribbean specifically. This systematic review aimed to address two research questions: (1) What is the impact of mental health stigma on help-seeking in the Caribbean? (2) What factors underlie the relationship between stigma and help-seeking in the Caribbean?

Methods
A systematic search was conducted across six electronic databases (Medline, Embase, Global Health, PsychInfo, Scopus and LILACS). The search included articles published up to May 2022. Experts in the field were consulted to provide publication recommendations and references of included studies were checked. Data synthesis comprised of three components: a narrative synthesis of quantitative findings, a thematic analysis of qualitative findings, and a meta-synthesis combining these results.

Results
The review included nine articles (reflecting eight studies) totaling 1256 participants. A conceptual model was derived from the meta-synthesis, identifying three themes in relation to mental health stigma and help-seeking in the Caribbean: (i) Making sense of mental health conditions’; (ii) Anticipated/Experienced stigma-related experiences and (iii) Individual
characteristics.

Conclusion
This review provides insights into the relationship between mental health stigma and help-seeking in the Caribbean based upon the current research evidence. This can be applied in the design of culturally appropriate future research, and to support policy and practice towards stigma reduction, and improved mental care help-seeking in the Caribbean.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0291307
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS One
Volume18
Issue number9 September
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • Caribbean
  • Stigma
  • Help-seeking
  • Mental Health
  • Global Mental Health

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