The Sci-Files – 08/22/2021 – Isabel John and Lauren Wiklund – Normalcy vs Solidarity

Chelsie Boodoo and Daniel Puentes

On this week’s The Sci-Files, your hosts Chelsie and Danny interview Isabel John and Lauren Wiklund. Mental health stigma is a significant barrier to receiving mental health care. The two primary approaches to reducing mental health stigma are normalcy and solidarity. Normalcy refers to efforts to reduce stigma by increasing understanding of the frequency and prevalence of mental illness and the similarities between those with and without mental illness. This method aims to normalize the experience of mental illness for those experiencing symptoms and for those interacting with others who have a mental illness. Solidarity approaches attempt to increase support for those with mental illness and acceptance of differences among those with and without mental illness. The current literature is unclear whether one approach is more effective than another in reducing mental health stigma initially and over time. An initial exploratory study of 120 undergraduate students suggests that normalcy messages were more effective in reducing stigmatizing opinions against those with mental illness, while solidarity messages reduced the likelihood of engaging in stigmatizing behaviors toward those with mental illness.
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