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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Reducing stigma and discrimination: Candidate interventions

Graham Thornicroft*, Elaine Brohan, Aliya Kassam and Elanor Lewis-Holmes

Author Affiliations

Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London, UK

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International Journal of Mental Health Systems 2008, 2:3  doi:10.1186/1752-4458-2-3

Published: 13 April 2008

Abstract

This paper proposes that stigma in relation to people with mental illness can be understood as a combination of problems of knowledge (ignorance), attitudes (prejudice) and behaviour (discrimination). From a literature review, a series of candidate interventions are identified which may be effective in reducing stigmatisation and discrimination at the following levels: individuals with mental illness and their family members; the workplace; and local, national and international. The strongest evidence for effective interventions at present is for (i) direct social contact with people with mental illness at the individual level, and (ii) social marketing at the population level.