"The present study investigated the effects of a unit of instruction in mental health on rural adolescents' conceptions of mental illness and their attitudes about seeking professional help for emotional problems" (Esters, Irvin G., et al.).
Stigma: help: professionals:
"... it is clear that resources designed to assist those in need of care are underutilized (Horwitz, 1987). One factor thought to contribute to the underutilization of mental health services... is the stigma attached to mental illness and the associated help-seeking process. The purpose of the present study was to determine if a unit of instruction designed to change conceptions of mental illness and attitudes about seeking professional help was effective" (Esters, Irvin G., et al.).
"Forty adolescents, 13 to 17 years of age (M = 14.7 years), participated in this study. The school from which participants were recruited was located in a rural area near a northern Mississippi township... All students in the ninth grade who were enrolled in health classes, who had parents' or guardians' permission to participate, who themselves agreed to take part, and who were present during the entire treatment period were included in the study" (Esters, Irvin G., et al.).
So, as you can see, education is the way to go!
"... students completed the... pretest in their respective classes... On the following three days of class, an instructional unit related to mental health was presented... It included a video... sources of help in the immediate community, the definition and qualifications of different types of helpers, and the reality of associated stigma... The first posttest was administered on the last day. Twelve weeks after the first posttest, a second posttest was administered" (Esters, Irvin G., et al.).
"The intervention was successful... Their attitudes became more favorable toward seeking professional help for emotional problems, and perhaps just as important, this improvement did not decrease significantly after twelve weeks. In addition, students' conceptions of and opinions about mental illness became more like those of mental health professionals, results that again did not change significantly when tested twelve weeks later" (Esters, Irvin G., et al.).
"the present study has demonstrated the efficacy of the treatment in changing attitudes and improving knowledge... two important precursors to the help-seeking process... it has... demonstrated that education about mental illnesses and mental health professionals changes attitudes and conceptions that seem to be obstacles to treatment. These unfavorable or inaccurate beliefs contribute to the stigmatization of mental illness, which compounds the reluctance of individuals to seek professional help" (Esters, Irvin G., et al.).
Source: Esters, Irvin G., et al. "Effects of a unit of instruction in mental health on rural adolescents' conceptions of mental illness and attitudes about seeking help." Adolescence, vol. 33, no. 130, 1998, p. 469+. Science in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A21072048/SCIC?u=pioneer&xid=ba023718. Accessed 5 Feb. 2018.