Improving Mental Health Literacy of Children and Adolescents to Reduce Stigma


IMPRES is based on the project “NePP” from the first funding period. It is aiming at the prevention of mental disorders by implementing an evaluation an early intervention to promote mental health literacy (MHL). Additionally, a reduction of stigma should also be reached.


Project Background

The scientific goals for the second funding period are based on and concluded from major findings of the first funding period. Therefore, our basic assumption is that stigma is a relevant issue for health promotion and primary prevention, because it negatively impacts the take-up and use of adequate support, care, and first aid services of people with mental disorders. Stigma can be related to the framework of mental health literacy, when it is defined as the result of people lacking and/or misunderstanding health information related to mental illness. Additionally, inadequate understanding negatively impacts the appraisal and use of this health information to make judgments and take decisions concerning mental disorders. In this context, we understand mental health literacy as understanding, appraising and using health information in order to make sound decisions and judgements concerning all issues related to mental health and illness. Based on our findings, we understand that there is a need for interventions that address children and adolescents to reduce stigma and self-stigma (internalization of stigmatizing attitudes). We therefore aim at:

  • reviewing current research about stigmatization of people with mental disorders (public and self-stigma), processes relevant for using mental health-related information • collecting and reviewing existing anti-stigma-campaigns and interventions focusing on children and adolescents
  • developing (or adapting), implementing and evaluating an intervention on mental health literacy in children and adolescents to reduce stigma, including self-stigma in affected groups and public stigma.

On the long term, we expect to reduce public stigma by addressing children and adolescents, we expect to reduce self-stigma and to facilitate help-seeking as well as the up-take of mental health services.

Maria Alexandra Fretian
Bielefeld University
Sandra Kirchhoff
Bielefeld University
Patricia Wahl
- Alumni -
Bielefeld University