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Systematic review of interventions to reduce mental health stigma in India

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Amanpreet Kaur, Sudha Kallakuri, Brandon A Kohrt, Eva Heim, Petra Gronholm, Graham Thornicroft, Pallab K Maulik

Original languageEnglish
Article number102466
JournalAsian journal of psychiatry
PublishedJan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The Indigo Partnership research programme is a part of the Indigo Network; a collaboration of research colleagues in over 30 countries worldwide committed to developing knowledge about mental-illness-related stigma and discrimination, both in terms of their origins and their eradication. It is coordinated by the Centre for Global Mental Health, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London. This work was supported by the Medical Research Council (grant number MR/R023697/1). Funding Information: AK is partly covered out of INDIGO partnership programme while AK, SK and PKM are all partly supported by the NHMRC/GACD funded SMART Mental Health Project (APP1143911). This project was supported by INDIGO Partnership programme (MR/R023697/1) awarded to GT on which he is the principal investigator. GT is supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration South London at King’s College London NHS Foundation Trust, and by the NIHR Asset Global Health Unit award. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. GT also receives support from the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health under award number R01MH100470 (Cobalt study). GT is supported by the UK Medical Research Council in relation to the Emilia (MR/S001255/1) and Indigo Partnership (MR/R023697/1) awards. BAK is supported by the US National Institute of Mental Health (grants K01MH104310 and R21MH111280). PCG is supported by the UK Medical Research Council in relation the Indigo Partnership (MR/R023697/1) award. Publisher Copyright: © 2020 Elsevier B.V. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


Stigma is a barrier for help-seeking, mental health service access, and contributes to the mental health treatment gap. Because the mental health treatment gap is greatest in low- and middle-income countries, it is vital to identify effective strategies to reduce stigma in these settings. To date, there has been a lack of synthesis of findings from interventions to reduce stigma related to mental disorders within India.

A systematic review was conducted to provide an overview of the characteristics and effectiveness of stigma reduction interventions studies in India. PubMed, Embase and PsycINFO databases were searched for literature published up to 30th June 2020.

From a total of 1,984 articles identified, only 9 were eligible for final inclusion, published between 1990-2020. No study was found from North, North-East, Central or East India. Most stigma-reduction interventions were multi-level, that is, using a combination of intra-personal, inter-personal and community level strategies to target changes in outcomes of individuals, environments and community groups. Three studies focused on health and stigma-related changes at the organisational/institutional level. No interventions focused on the governmental/structural level. There were only two randomised controlled trials, and two studies focused on all three stigma components of knowledge, attitudes and behaviour. Most interventions were delivered to community members. None focused on mental health professionals as intervention delivery target.

There is a need for the development of comprehensive, culturally acceptable evidence-based interventions that act at multiple levels, and involve a mixture of various stigma reducing strategies with multiple target groups.

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