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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 62 (2020) 1, 37 - 46

Review article

Effectiveness of anti-stigma interventions regarding severe mental illness: a systematic literature review

K.C.E.E.R. Catthoor, B.G.C. Sabbe, T. Dreesen, F. Janssen, F. Vandendriessche, G. Steegen, F. Matthys, C. Matton, C. Mertens, J. Detraux

background Stigma is one of the greatest challenges facing people with severe mental illness (smi) and can have profound psychological, social and professional consequences.
aim To systematically review the evidence of effectiveness of anti-stigma interventions (anti-stigma campaigns and specific interventions to reduce public stigma and self-stigma) for people with smi and to make recommendations for clinical practice.
method A systematic literature search for individual studies and reviews concerning the efficacy of interventions that reduce stigma for people with smi.
results Anti-stigma interventions have small-to-medium effects. Although head-to-head comparisons do not show a clear advantage for educational or contact interventions, results suggest that the elements of contact, recovery and continuity (for public stigma) and psycho-education (for self-stigma) may yield the greatest effects. Due to the short follow-up period of most studies, there is limited evidence on the long-term effectiveness of these interventions. More specifically, it remains unknown whether these interventions lead to changes in actual behavior.
conclusion Anti-stigma interventions have limited effects on knowledge, attitudes and behavior. Several methodological shortcomings, as well as short follow-up periods in most studies, preclude making firm conclusions.

keywords anti-stigma intervention, public stigma, self-stigma, severe mental illness