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Can J Psychiatry. 2014 Oct;59(10 Suppl 1):S13-8.

Opening minds in Canada: targeting change.

Author information

1
Professor and Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair, Department of Public Health Sciences, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario; Senior Consultant, Opening Minds Anti-Stigma Initiative, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Calgary, Alberta.
2
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Public Health Sciences, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario; Research Associate, Youth Programs, Opening Minds Anti-Stigma Initiative, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Calgary, Alberta.
3
Manager, Opening Minds Anti-Stigma Initiative, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Calgary, Alberta.
4
Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta; Principal Investigator, Workforce West, Opening Minds Anti-Stigma Initiative, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Calgary, Alberta.
5
Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario; Principal Investigator, Workforce East, Opening Minds Anti-Stigma Initiative, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Calgary, Alberta.
6
Research Associate, Healthcare Providers, Opening Minds Anti-Stigma Initiative, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Calgary, Alberta.
7
Student, Department of Public Health Sciences, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario; Research Associate, Youth Programs, Opening Minds Anti-Stigma Initiative, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Calgary, Alberta.
8
Professor, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario; Principal Investigator, Workforce East, Opening Minds Anti-Stigma Initiative, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Calgary, Alberta.
9
Associate Professor and Primary Mental Healthcare Education Leader, Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia; Principal Investigator, Healthcare Providers, Opening Minds Anti-Stigma Initiative, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Calgary, Alberta.
10
Research Associate, Workforce East, Opening Minds Anti-Stigma Initiative, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Calgary, Alberta.
11
Principal Investigator, Healthcare Providers, Opening Minds Anti-Stigma Initiative, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Calgary, Alberta; Professor, Departments of Community Health Sciences and Psychiatry, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta; Member, Mathison Centre for Research & Education in Mental Health, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.
12
Director, Opening Minds Anti-Stigma Initiative, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Calgary, Alberta.
13
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta; Research Scientist, Opening Minds Anti-Stigma Initiative, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Calgary, Alberta.
14
Assistant Professor, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec; Principal Investigator, Media Monitoring Project, Opening Minds Anti-Stigma Initiative, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Calgary, Alberta.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To summarize the ongoing activities of the Opening Minds (OM) Anti-Stigma Initiative of the Mental Health Commission of Canada regarding the 4 groups targeted (youth, health care providers, media, and workplaces), highlight some of the key methodological challenges, and review lessons learned.

METHOD:

The approach used by OM is rooted in community development philosophy, with clearly defined target groups, contact-based education as the central organizing element across interventions, and a strong evaluative component so that best practices can be identified, replicated, and disseminated. Contact-based education occurs when people who have experienced a mental illness share their personal story of recovery and hope.

RESULTS:

Results have been generally positive. Contact-based education has the capacity to reduce prejudicial attitudes and improve social acceptance of people with a mental illness across various target groups and sectors. Variations in program outcomes have contributed to our understanding of active ingredients.

CONCLUSIONS:

Contact-based education has become a cornerstone of the OM approach to stigma reduction. A story of hope and recovery told by someone who has experienced a mental illness is powerful and engaging, and a critical ingredient in the fight against stigma. Building partnerships with existing community programs and promoting systematic evaluation using standardized approaches and instruments have contributed to our understanding of best practices in the field of anti-stigma programming. The next challenge will be to scale these up so that they may have a national impact.

PMID:
25565697
PMCID:
PMC4213747
DOI:
10.1177/070674371405901s05
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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