The stigma of mental illness is pervasive and significant in this country. The fear of being labeled as a """"""""mental patient"""""""" may deter many individuals from seeking treatment. For those with serious but treatable mental illness, avoidance or refusal of outpatient treatment due to stigma may result in unnecessary suffering, further deterioration in social and occupational functioning, and repeated involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations for an already vulnerable population. This is particularly true for African-Americans, who are less likely to receive outpatient mental health treatment but more likely to be involuntarily hospitalized than the general population. Psychoeducational interventions, shown to be effective in promoting acceptance of mental health treatment, may be a promising method to address stigma concerns for African-Americans with mental health problems. As with any intervention, stigma psychoeducation for Black populations is not likely to be successful unless it addresses relevant concerns presented in a way that resonates with this population. One way to achieve this goal is to develop a psychoeducational intervention based on input from Black mental health clients themselves. This application includes four sequential steps in the development of a psychoeducational intervention for Black adults referred for outpatient mental health treatment: 1) collecting qualitative data about stigma concerns and stigma-coping strategies from Black mental health clients and other key informants, 2) developing a psychoeducational intervention based on the qualitative data, 3) revising the intervention based on feedback from key informants and then piloting it on a small group of Black clients to assess feasibility and acceptability, and 4) conducting a pilot intervention trial in which Black clients referred to outpatient mental health treatment are randomized to psychoeducation or a general information session about mental health services. We will examine whether clients who receive the psychoeducation will report less concern about stigma, a greater perceived need for treatment, and most importantly, be more likely to enter outpatient treatment and receive more outpatient services in a 3-month period.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-SSS-N (50))
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Otey, Emeline M
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University of California San Francisco
Schools of Medicine
San Francisco
United States
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Alvidrez, Jennifer; Snowden, Lonnie R; Kaiser, Dawn M (2010) Involving consumers in the development of a psychoeducational booklet about stigma for black mental health clients. Health Promot Pract 11:249-58
Alvidrez, Jennifer; Snowden, Lonnie R; Rao, Stephen M et al. (2009) Psychoeducation to address stigma in black adults referred for mental health treatment: a randomized pilot study. Community Ment Health J 45:127-36