Review of anti-stigma social media interventions for mental illness

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Li, Siyan

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As a global health concern, mental illness mental illness is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. The stigma attached to mental illness leads the delay of treatment as well as decrease the quality of life. Therefore, reducing stigma for mental illness is extremely urgent. Mass media shows the potential of many interventions for decreasing mental illness stigma. As a new form of mass media, social media can be more promising in stigma reduction. The benefits of social media include cost-efficiency, privacy-protection, high-accessibility, broad-coverage, and no limitations for time and geography. The most important benefit is the enrichment of interactions. 10 research studies were selected by screening titles, abstracts, and full texts from a database search that yielded 145 results. The research data were collected from two databases on 26 July 2018. The publication date ranges from 2011-2018. By comparing and analyzing these 10 research studies, three questions are answered: (1) What kinds of social media were used? (2) How was social media used in the interventions? (3) What was the effect of social media? As expected, social media interventions are effective at reducing stigma. The effects are more significant in females than in males. Future research and interventions should explore new ways to use the interactive functions of social media and exploit more types of social media platforms. Additionally, the endeavor should also be made to deconstruct social media to find its inner logic and mechanism, in order to develop precise models and techniques to assess its effects on reducing mental illness stigma.



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