Development of an intervention to reduce self-stigma in outpatient mental health service users in Chile

Sara Schilling, Juan Antonio Bustamante, Andres Sala, Claudio Acevedo, Eric Tapia, Ruben Alvarado, Jaime C. Sapag, Lawrence Hsin Yang, Ellen Lukens, Franco Mascayano, Patricia Cid, Thamara Tapia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Latin America is characterized by a high prevalence of public stigma toward those with mental illness, and significant selfstigma among labeled individuals, leading to social exclusion, low treatment adherence, and diminished quality of life. However, there is no published evidence of an intervention designed to address stigma in the region. In light of this, a psychosocial intervention to reduce self-stigma among users with severe mental illness was developed and tested through an RCT in two regions of Chile.

OBJECTIVES: To describe the development of the psychosocial intervention, assess its feasibility and acceptability, and evaluate its preliminary impact.

METHODS: An intervention was designed and is being tested, with 80 users with severe mental illness attending two community mental health outpatient centers. To prepare the intervention, pertinent literature was reviewed, and experts and mental health services users were consulted. Feasibility and acceptability were assessed, and impact was analyzed, based on follow-up qualitative reports by the participants.

RESULTS: The recovery-oriented, ten-session group intervention incorporates the Tree of Life narrative approach, along with other narrative practices, to promote a positive identity change in users, and constructivist psychoeducation, based on case studies and group discussions, to gather tools to confront self-stigma. The intervention was feasible to implement and well evaluated by participants, family members, and center professionals. Participants reported increased self-confidence, and the active use of anti-stigma strategies developed during the workshop.

CONCLUSIONS: This group intervention promises an effective means to reduce stigma of mental illness within Chile and other Latin American countries and feasibility to scale up within mental health services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-294
Number of pages11
JournalRevista de la Facultad de Ciencias Medicas (Cordoba, Argentina)
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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