Interventions to Reduce Stigma Related to Mental Illnesses in Educational Institutes: a Systematic Review

Psychiatr Q. 2020 Sep;91(3):887-903. doi: 10.1007/s11126-020-09751-4.


This investigation reviews the effectiveness of anti-stigma interventions employed at educational institutes; to improve knowledge, attitude and beliefs regarding mental health disorders among students. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) checklist guidelines were followed and protocol was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42018114535). Forty four randomized controlled trials were considered eligible after screening of 104 full-text articles against inclusion and exclusion criteria.Several interventions have been employed to tackle stigma toward psychiatric illnesses, including education through lectures and case scenarios, contact-based interventions, and role-plays as strategies to address stigma towards mental illnesses. A high proportion of trials noted that there was a significant improvement for stigma (19/25, 76%), attitude (8/11, 72%), helping-seeking (8/11, 72%), knowledge of mental health including recognition of depression (11/14, 78%), and social distance (4/7, 57%). These interventions also helped in reducing both public and self-stigma. Majority of the studies showed that the anti-stigma interventions were successful in improving mental health literacy, attitude and beliefs towards mental health illnesses.

Keywords: Anxiety; Autism; Depression; Institutions; Interventions; Mental health; Psychosis; Stigma.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Education*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Mentally Ill Persons*
  • Psychosocial Intervention*
  • Role Playing*
  • Social Stigma*