The stigma of mental illness in children and adolescents: A systematic review: Abstracts of the 24rd European Congress of Psychiatry

A. Kaushik, E. Kostaki, S. Fewings, G. Thomas, M. Kyriakopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review

158 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction:
One in ten children and adolescents experience mental health difficulties at any given time, yet only one third of those suffering access treatment. Untreated mental illness predisposes to longstanding individual difficulties, and presents a great public health burden. Large scale initiatives to reduce stigmatization of mental illness in children and adolescents, identified as a key deterrent to treatment, have had limited success, and research is scarce.

Aims:
To gain a better understanding of the stigma experienced by children and adolescents with mental health difficulties.

Objectives:
We conducted a systematic review of the literature examining stigma and self-stigma towards children and adolescents with mental health difficulties, in order to better understand the extent and type of discrimination directed towards this particularly vulnerable group.

Methods:
Following PRISMA guidelines, the databases Pubmed, PsychINFO and Cochrane were searched for original research published between 1980 and 2014, assessing public stigma (i.e. the reaction of the general public) and self-stigma (i.e. internalized public stigma) towards children and adolescents with mental health difficulties.

Results:
Thirty-seven studies were identified, confirming that stigmatization towards children and young people suffering mental health difficulties is a universal and disabling problem. There was some variation by diagnosis and gender, and stigmatization was for the most part unaffected by labelling. Self-stigmatization led to more secrecy and avoidance of interventions.

Conclusions:
The findings confirm that stigmatization of mental illness is poorly understood due to a lack of evidence and methodological discrepancies. Implications of the findings are discussed, and suggestions made for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S130
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Volume33
Issue numberSupplement
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016

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