Changing Attitudes & Stigma toward Mental Health in Nursing Students

Research Paper Title

Attitudes and stigma toward mental health in nursing students: A systematic review.


This systematic review seeks to ascertain whether mental health-specific education reduces stigmatising attitudes in nursing students.


A systematic review of the literature was performed.


Thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria.

Most of the results show an improvement in attitudes toward mental health, both in theory and clinical experience, but a greater improvement toward these stigmatising attitudes was observed in clinical placements than in theory.


Mental-health-specific training seems to improve perceptions toward mental health.

Clinical placement underpins theory, leading to a decrease in negative attitudes and stigma regarding mental health.


Palou, R.G., Vigue, G.P. & Tort-Nasarre, G. (2020) Attitudes and stigma toward mental health in nursing students: A systematic review. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care. 56(2), pp.243-255. doi: 10.1111/ppc.12419. Epub 2019 Jul 28.

Linking Attitudes towards Mental Illness & the Media

Research Paper Title

Turkish newspaper articles mentioning people with mental illness: A retrospective study.


Because a great majority of the public knows about mental disorders primarily through printed or visual media, the attitudes exhibited in mass media might be predictive in stigmatizing individuals with mental disorders.

The aim of this study was to retrospectively assess the articles in Turkish newspapers that mention individuals with mental disorders.


This study was designed to retrospectively investigate and analyze newspaper content in Turkey; the newspapers’ circulation information was collected by examining the websites of the four newspapers with above 1% of the total circulation.

The News Evaluation Form was used to evaluate a sampling of articles that met the inclusion criteria of having appeared in the lifestyle and agenda pages of newspapers, and of using neutral or negative labelling keywords about psychiatric patients.


Almost all the articles reviewed were negative toward individuals with mental disorders.

Three quarters of the reports were forensic, among which two thirds of the individuals with mental disorders were criminalised, and one third were victims of crime.

In approximately half of the news reports, most images were related to the news and were not protected.

Although not all the articles contain stigmatising elements directed toward people with mental disorders, two thirds of the subjects’ images in the news were found to have stigmatising elements.


Media has an impact on attitudes toward people with mental disorders mostly negatively along with individual experiences and peer interactions.


Aci, O.S., Ciydem, E., Bilgin, H., Ozaslan, Z. & Tek, S. (2020) Turkish newspaper articles mentioning people with mental illness: A retrospective study. The International Journal of Social Psychiatry. doi: 10.1177/0020764019894609. [Epub ahead of print].

New Plank Record

A 62-Year-old former US Marine has set a world record for maintaining the plank.

On 15 February 2020, George Hood kept static for an incredible 8 hours 15 minutes and 15 seconds.

Hood, a former US Marine and retired Drug Enforcement Administration supervisory special agent, has broken the record for longest plank before, in 2011 when he held it for 1 hour and 20 minutes. But when he tried to set it again in 2016, he lost to Mao Weidong from China, who held a plank for 8 hours, 1 minute and 1 second.

A Guinness World Record official adjudicated at the event in Chicago, which raised money for an Illinois-based mental health counselling facility.

With his experience in the military and law enforcement, Hood said he knew mental illness is often stigmatized. So he completed the challenge at 515 Fitness, a gym that helps address mental illness through exercise and professional help.” (Lee, 2020).

The ultra-endurance athlete trained for seven hours a day for 18 months, completing around 2,100 hours of plank time, 270,000 push-ups and nearly 674,000 sit-ups.

“”It’s 4-5 hours a day in the plank pose,” Hood told CNN. “Then I do 700 pushups a day, 2,000 situps a day in sets of a hundred, 500 leg squats a day. For upper body and the arms, I do approximately 300 arm curls a day.”” (Lee, 2020).

To celebrate the reclaiming of his world record title, Hood finished off the event with a quick 75 push-ups/press-ups.

Hood has set the plank record a total of six times over the past eight years.

Hood said this will likely be his last time breaking the world record for planking, but his next goal is to set the Guinness World Record for most pushups completed in one hour, which currently stands at 2,806.

The female record is currently held by Dana Glowacka from Canada, who held a plank for 4 hours, 19 minutes and 55 seconds last year, according to Guinness World Records.


Lee, A. (2020) 62-year-old former Marine sets Guinness World Record by holding plank for over 8 hours. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 06 April, 2020].

Soldier. (2020) On His Toes. Soldier: Magazine of the British Army. April 2020, pp.16.

Somatic Symptom Disorder & Social Stigma

Research Paper Title

Social Stigma Towards People with Medically Unexplained Symptoms: the Somatic Symptom Disorder.


The majority of previous studies on mental health stigma have focused on medically explained symptoms and the studies on medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) have only assessed the consequences of internalised stigma.

A new category in DSM 5, named as somatic symptom disorder (SSD), includes multiple somatic disorders with medically-explained or -unexplained somatic symptoms.

This study aimed to test the effects of social stigma on people with SSD with MUS depending on the attribution model.


In a class environment, 348 college students from different regions in Turkey were presented with a vignette on a person with SSD with MUS and asked to complete a survey including demographics and attitudes towards that person.


Along the same lines with previous findings for other mental disorders, the path analysis using AMOS revealed that stigma-related cognitions (i.e., dependency, dangerousness and responsibility) shaped people’s affective (i.e., anger and pity) and behavioural responses (i.e., social distance) to these people.

The most important predictor of social distance was pity and the level of contact was not related to social distance.


In conclusion, anti-stigma interventions towards SSD with MUS should involve building empathy towards these patients and educating people about this disorder contrary to the recommended interventions for other mental health disorders stressing the importance of contact.


Eger Aydogmus, M. (2020) Social Stigma Towards People with Medically Unexplained Symptoms: the Somatic Symptom Disorder.

Occupational Stress: Mental Health Professionals & Stigma

Research Paper Title

Development of a measure of stigma towards occupational stress for mental health professionals.


Stigma is a common barrier to mental health professionals (MHPs) seeking help for occupational stress and burnout, although there is a lack of psychometrically sound tools to measure this construct.

The current study aimed to develop and validate a scale (the Mental Health Professional Stigma Scale; MHPSS) for this purpose.


The MHPSS and related measures were completed by 221 Australian MHPs via online survey, with a sub-sample completing the MHPSS again 2 weeks after initial completion.


Exploratory factor analysis revealed a four-factor solution, comprising of 13 items and accounting for 50.16% of variance.

Factors were:

  • Perceived Other Stigma;
  • Perceived Structural Stigma;
  • Personal Stigma; and
  • Self stigma.

The internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and validity of the scale were supported.


The MHPSS has utility to capture stigmatising attitudes and beliefs related to occupational stress and burnout among MHPs.

It may be used to assist in the development and evaluation of initiatives to reduce stigma and increase help-seeking among MHPs.


Clough, B.A., Hill, M., Delaney, M. & Casey, L.M. (2020) Development of a measure of stigma towards occupational stress for mental health professionals. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. doi: 10.1007/s00127-019-01820-9. [Epub ahead of print].

Veterans: We’re Afraid to Say Suicide

Research Paper Title

“We’re Afraid to Say Suicide”: Stigma as a Barrier to Implementing a Community-Based Suicide Prevention Program for Rural Veterans.


Suicide is a significant public health concern for veterans residing in rural communities.

Although various initiatives have been implemented to prevent suicide among veterans, efforts specific to rural veterans remain limited.


To aid such efforts, the researchers examined stigma as a potential barrier to community readiness in the implementation of a community-based suicide prevention program for rural veterans.

In this qualitative study, community readiness interviews were conducted with 13 participants in a rural community.

Themes included lack of awareness regarding veteran suicide, rare discussions of veteran suicide, and suicide-related stigma within the community.


Results suggest that prioritising destigmatisation may be particularly important to implementing community-based suicide prevention programming in rural communities.


In particular, addressing community misconceptions regarding veteran suicide, while increasing knowledge of the extent to which veteran suicide occurs locally may facilitate increased awareness and thus community readiness to prevent suicide among rural veterans.


Monteith, L.L., Smith, N.B., Holliday, R., Dorsey Holliman, B.A., LoFaro, C.T. & Mohatt, N.V. (2019) “We’re Afraid to Say Suicide”: Stigma as a Barrier to Implementing a Community-Based Suicide Prevention Program for Rural Veterans. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000001139. [Epub ahead of print].

Mental Health: Stigma & Myth

Most people know that it is not appropriate to deliberately treat someone with mental health problems badly.

This awareness means that stigma is often expressed in less obvious ways, such as unkind jokes or ignoring a person.

Stigma and the fear of stigma is a serious issue that has an effect on people’s ability to cope with and recover from a mental health problem.

There is a lot of evidence to show that people are treated differently when they experience a mental health problem.

Stigma is based on myths and false assumptions about mental health problems.

Therefore, it is best addressed by gaining knowledge and an understanding of the facts.

Research has found that attitudes towards people with mental health problems have improved significantly in the United Kingdom (UK) since anti-stigma campaigns like ‘See Me’ were introduced.

We can make a difference to people’s mental health by gaining understanding and knowledge, and sharing it with others.

We can also make a difference by treating people with mental health problems as equals, and offering kindness and support when they are unwell.