Stigma of Mood and Anxiety Disorders: A Psychoeducational and Behavioural Modification Course
stigma , mental illness
Objectives. To design a group-based, psychoeducational and behavioural modification course to help individuals with mood and anxiety disorders who are directly affected by mental health stigma. Second, to gather feedback on the course content and design using focus groups, then to finalize the course sessions. Methods. Course development occurred in two phases. Phase I included content that was based on published research, including readings of personal experiences, and informal conversations with mental health service providers and mental health service consumers. In Phase II, three focus groups were conducted to gather feedback. Focus Group 1 included ten mental health service providers, Focus Group 2 included twelve mental health service consumers, and Focus Group 3 included three experts in the field of mental health stigma. Results. All three groups had a positive reaction to the draft course and many suggestions were offered based upon focus group members’ personal experiences dealing with mental health stigma. All suggestions were taken into consideration and many were applied to refine the course content. Conclusion. The revised anti-stigma course content is based on a compilation of research and suggestions taken from a wide variety of sources. This should ensure a comprehensive, feasible, and effective course. Development of this course is the first step towards a larger project aimed at reducing stigma directly experienced by those affected by mood and anxiety disorders in an effort to better their lives and encourage both resiliency and recovery.