A study published by IU researchers earlier this month got a lot of attention for being the first of its kind in researching ways to combat stigma around mental illness in university settings.
IU News reported that Bernice Pescosolido, distinguished professor of sociology at IU and advisory council member and founding co-director at IUNI, and her team found certain peer-directed activities that focused on mental illness in an honest and open manner reduced stigma among college students. The target was changing the campus culture.
The study by Pescosolido and coauthors Brea Perry and Anne Krendl measured the effectiveness of the U Bring Change 2 Mind (UBC2M) campaign. It is the first study to survey a graduating class over the course of their college careers on their attitudes toward mental illness while also holding a consistent campaign around it. UBC2M also has a special focus on the support and friendship networks of students and how those networks influence stigma and help-seeking.
Along with the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry publishing the study, findings were featured in various news media outlets.
Inside Higher Ed reported a “Quick Take” on the study, linking to coverage from Science Daily. Science, research, and technology news site Medical Xpress and psychiatric news site Psychiatric News also covered the findings.
The news of stigma reduction among college students was also shared on Futurity and News-Medical and in a blog on Psych Central.
U Bring Change 2 Mind is part of Bring Change to Mind, which is a national nonprofit working to reduce mental illness stigma that was co-founded by actress Glenn Close.
Pescosolido said her team is now working to create a national and international version of UBC2M.
“We believe this is the right time for these efforts both because this generation is much more open than past generations—including their thinking about mental health—and because college is when people are really forming critical attitudes that will follow them the rest of their lives,” Pescosolido said. “This is the moment when we can really make a difference.”
Who covered the story?
Here’s a list of publications that covered the findings of Pescosolido’s study, “Empowering the Next Generation to End Stigma By Starting the Conversation: Bring Change to Mind and the College Toolbox Project.”