In the recent decades there has been a concerted push towards acceptance of those with mental illness, however stigma towards this group is still a major concern in the UK. In particular, psychosis is consistently associated with the most negative stereotypes and beliefs in both adult and adolescent populations. This stigma often leads to prejudice and discriminatory behaviour towards people experiencing psychosis. Around 87% of mental health service-users in the UK report experiences of stigma and discrimination, which can take the form of avoidance, coercion, segregation and withholding help. Stigma and risk of social exclusion is one of the major barriers to help-seeking and is associated with delayed treatment, both in individuals and their families.
Building on my Master’s dissertation on the key components of anti-stigma psychosis programmes in schools, this project brings together several organizations with different expertise and resources to the shared aim of improving educational materials on psychosis. Firstly, Action for Children who are currently delivering a Wales-wide Mental health literacy programme (The Guide Cymru) in schools in Wales and have expertise in educational interventions and their evaluation. Secondly, the Public Health Wales National Steering Group for Early Intervention in Psychosis who have mental health provision and clinical expertise. Finally, Bangor University who provide the academic input with supervisors from the School of Psychology and Public Health and Social Sciences.
The overall aims of the project are:
1. To develop a new module for The Guide Cymru, focusing on psychosis.
2. To evaluate its effectiveness in improving understanding and reducing stigmatising attitudes.
3. To explore individual differences in young people that may impact the effectiveness of this module in reducing their stigmatizing attitudes.