Iowa State University graduate student and ISU Student Counseling Services clinical intern Daniel Lannin recently published a study on college students’ self-stigma about mental health issues, which can be a significant barrier to getting information or help.
“It’s not just the fear of seeing a
counselor or therapist,” Lannin said. “It’s actually when people are sitting at
home or on their phone. That stigma prevents them from even learning more
information about depression or about counseling.”
Lannin’s study included 370 students who
were given the opportunity to learn about mental health and the university’s
counseling services online. Just 8.7 percent of participants clicked on a link
to learn about mental health, while 9 percent clicked the link to learn about
the school’s services.
“A lot of people with higher levels of
stigma won’t even entertain the possibility of a stigma intervention because
they see the intervention as going to therapy to be more open to therapy,”
Lannin said. “It’s like telling someone who doesn’t like vegetables to eat some
broccoli to get over it.”
Lannin is continuing his work by developing
and testing different online interventions to address the issue, and a previous
study of his showed that participants were more likely to accept information
after writing a short essay on one of their personal values.