Reduce the Effect of Stigma

Stigma reduction approaches that include interpersonal contact with people with lived experience of mental health are the most effective to reduce stigma. Research indicates that contact approaches including interpersonal contact with people with lived experience of mental health are the most effective (Corrigan 2011). Research by Corrigan (2011) found that there are five (5) principles that need to be implemented to respond to stigma effectively. They include, 


1. Contact is fundamental. This involves “planned interactions between people with mental illness and key groups”, and to be most effective it should be face‐to‐face contact. 


2. Contact needs to be targeted. It should focus on key groups such as employers, landlords and healthcare providers, and aim to change negative behaviours with affirming behaviours (for example, employers hiring more people with depression/anxiety, healthcare providers delivering high‐quality and non‐stigmatising services). 


3. Local contact programs are more effective. These may include geographical, political, social, cultural and other diversity factors.     


4. Contact must be credible. It should be with individuals who are similar in ethnicity and socioeconomic status; it should also be with individuals who are in a similar role; and the contact should be with a person who is in recovery. 

5. Contact must be continuous. Multiple contacts should occur, and there should be a variety of messages, venues and opportunities.  


To achieve real improvements in stigma and discrimination, stigma‐reduction strategies need to be developed and implemented in a collaborative, sustainable and multi‐sectoral way. These strategies need to be led by people with lived experience of mental health, and be supported by system‐level reform and policies, that influence attitudes and behaviours. 



Corrigan, P.W. (2011).

Strategic stigma change (SSC): Five principles for social marketing campaigns to reduce stigma.

Psychiatric services, 62 (8), 824 – 826.

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